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Courts

Female former VanEck executive sues firm alleging gender discrimination

Van Eck Associates Corp. and Jan F. van Eck, director and CEO, were named as defendants in a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination, pay and labor violations.

The plaintiff, Catherine Cardaci, alleged in her suit, which was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in New York, that she and other VanEck female employees were routinely discriminated against in terms of pay, company leave and performance evaluation.

Ms. Cardaci joined VanEck — which manages $46 billion in institutional assets, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds — as chief marketing officer in November 2014 and was fired Sept. 18 by Mr. van Eck.

She was the first woman to join VanEck's C-suite and the most senior female employee, the lawsuit stated.

According to the suit, Ms. Cardaci was fired after she gave the firm notice that her service on a federal grand jury trial had been extended and that she would have to miss regularly scheduled meetings during the course of the trial.

The lawsuit alleged VanEck has a "prejudiced atmosphere toward women," something Ms. Cadaci learned in the second month of her employment during a meeting of less senior female employees, who described unequal treatment regarding leave, including maternity leave, flexible work arrangements, pay, bonuses and performance reviews than male employees of the firm.

Ms. Cardaci's efforts to reduce the gender bias against women during her tenure at VanEck through the firm's human resources department were not effective, the lawsuit said.

Ms. Cardaci's suit seeks damages.

Ms. Cardaci could not be reached for comment, and her attorney, Valdi Licul, a partner at Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, declined to comment beyond what is contained in the lawsuit.

Jonathan R. Simon, senior vice president and general counsel at VanEck said in an email, "We believe the complaint is meritless and will vigorously defend ourselves from these baseless allegations."