“A textbook case of sexual harassment” on Wall Street
Sara Tirschwell, a former employee of the asset-management firm TCW, filed a lawsuit against her former company, TCW’s chief executive, and her former boss Jess Ravich. She alleges that after rebuffing her boss’s sexual advances and reporting it to the firm’s human resources department, she was fired in retaliation.
TCW is a powerful company on Wall Street in New York City. Tirschwell’s case against TCW is currently pending in New York State court.
In the lawsuit filed in January of 2018, she claims that Ravich pressured her into having sex with him “several times,” according to The New York Times. She gave into his advances because he made it seem to her, she claims, that if she were to reject him, she would lose his crucial backing for her professional work.
She further claims that when she did decline to have sex with him anymore, he “stopped supporting her fund, making it impossible for her to succeed at her job,” the Times reported. Her fears had come true.
She reported the sexual harassment to the head of human resources at TCW, who told her it would be investigated. However, soon after, she was fired for what the company claimed was unrelated reasons.
She sees the company’s firing of her as retaliation. She had filed the formal complaint of sexual harassment with HR just over a week before her firing, and Ravich joined the company’s board of directors just over a week after she had been fired. When she was fired, the company attempted to get to her to sign an agreement not to sue them.
In the lawsuit, the picture Tirschwell paints of her tenure at the firm is one of quid pro quo sexual harassment and retaliation on the part of TCW. She claims her boss pressured her to engage in sexual encounters as a condition of her professional success, and her company fired her for attempting to take corrective action, both of which actions are unlawful under New York and federal law.