PIMCO is again being sued by a female employee who is alleging gender discrimination and that she was unfairly bypassed for promotions in favor of male colleagues at the Newport Beach, Calif.-based money manager.
In a complaint filed Sept. 23, plaintiff Andrea Martin Inokon, an African-American attorney at Pacific Investment Management Co., described a "fraternity culture" at the firm, claiming that "sexist, sexualized comments and conduct permeates the office environment, where female professionals regularly endure comments on their appearances, their attire and their body."
Ms. Inokon, who also alleges racial discrimination, claims PIMCO "repeatedly passed (her) over for promotion, including to senior vice president, senior counsel of PIMCO's legal and compliance department and executive senior vice president, due to her race, gender and pregnancy in favor of less qualified males," the complaint, filed in Orange County Superior Court, said.
Ms. Inokon joined the bond giant in 2011 as a vice president in the firm's alternatives legal group, according to the complaint.
"PIMCO also employs uniform, secretive procedures for determining employees' compensation that introduce further gender and racial bias into how it compensates its male and female professionals," the complaint said.
Ms. Inokon alleges that PIMCO has never employed an African-American managing director and that "Caucasian men dominate PIMCO's leadership and management."
PIMCO is named as a defendant in the lawsuit as well as managing directors Rick LeBrun, deputy general counsel, and David Flattum, global general counsel.
"The allegations in this filing, in relation to PIMCO's employee policies generally and the specific circumstances of this employee, are not accurate and PIMCO will demonstrate that she was treated and compensated fairly based on her role and performance," a PIMCO spokesman said Thursday in an email.
The complaint is the second of its kind to surface since last year at PIMCO, alleging gender discrimination at the firm.
In April 2018, Stacy Schaus, who was then executive vice president and defined contribution practice leader of PIMCO, sued her employer of 12 years, citing age and sex discrimination that allegedly affected her pay and thwarted promotion.
In late November, Ms. Schaus retired from PIMCO and her departure coincided with a request for dismissal of the lawsuit.
In the new lawsuit, Ms. Inokon seeks compensatory, general and punitive damages, and that she be instated to the position of executive senior vice president with commensurate compensation. She also requested that the court require a compensation audit of PIMCO to determine whether federal laws related to equal pay and pay discrimination were violated.
PIMCO is accused of having discriminatory performance evaluations, promotion policies and job assignment practices. Ms. Inokon further alleges a lack of transparency at the firm regarding employee pay.
As of June 30, PIMCO had $1.84 trillion in assets under management.