Deutsche Bank Hedge Fund VP Alleges 'Mommy-Tracking'

Sep 13 2011 | 1:30pm ET

A vice president in a Deutsche Bank hedge fund group has sued the bank, accusing it of gender discrimination.

Kelley Voelker, who is based in New York, alleges that Deutsche Bank sought to demote her after she took maternity leave. She also questions why she has never been promoted during her 13 years at the bank and complained that her bonus was cut after she returned from leave.

"Plaintiff was retaliated against and ultimately 'mommy-tracked' for her decision to take maternity leave," Voelker's lawsuit alleges.

"We take these allegations very seriously and are currently reviewing the complaint," Deutsche Bank said.

In the lawsuit, filed alongside a discrimination claim lodged with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Voelker claims her boss recommended she take a "reduced role" when she returned from maternity leave in May of last year. The bank also sought to demote her to a marketing position she described as "vague," only to back off when she called in a lawyer.

Voelker adds that her superiors directed bigger accounts to a male colleague.

The discrimination did not begin with her decision to take leave, Voelker alleges: During her pregnancy, she claims her boss responded to her questioning a decision, "I'd watch your step—she's pregnant."

While Deutsche Bank says it takes Voelker's allegations seriously, recent case law is not on her side. In the past year, both Goldman Sachs Group and Bloomberg LP have seen gender discrimination lawsuits against them dismissed. Both of those lawsuits, as well as Voelker's, were brought by the law firm Thompson Wigdor, most recently in the news for representing Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape.

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