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The gender-discrimination complaint against Stephen Cohen portrays it in a different light

The gender-discrimination complaint against Stephen Cohen portrays it in a different light

In the months that have passed since Stephen A. Mets owner Cohen, was everything he never was before as one of the most secretive money managers on Wall Street: kind and accessible.

Mr. Cohen has had press conferences and many interviews with sports media in New York – something he rarely did with commercial correspondents who recorded every development and made an insider trading scandal that led to a multi-billion dollar hedge fund. Guilt To charges of securities fraud in 2013.

And it has become A fan favorite On Twitter – He posts his thoughts frequently on Mets and about deals that other professional baseball teams are making. Cohen, who is 64, seems to be taking great pleasure with the fans who responded to him on Twitter.

But in his hedge funds, Mr. Cohen has long been known for his mercurial character that has led him to attack traders who he believes are not making enough money. A recently disclosed complaint about gender discrimination filed by a former senior manager to Mr. Cohen now provides a glimpse into his volatile temper and what some women have said about an overtly hostile and sexual culture at his Point72 Asset Management hedge fund company, based in Stamford, Connecticut.

In the complaint, Sarah Vafra, who leads a Point72 trading group, said that Mr. Cohen stopped at her office in July 2019 and began a “sermon full of insults” in which he said her business was “tacky” and “stupid.” In the complaint, she said that in addition to dropping some public insults, Cohen also used the word insulting to a woman’s genitals.

Ms. Favra’s complaint was filed last summer with the Connecticut Human Rights and Opportunity Commission. In it, she said, later on the same day he was verbally assaulted, Mr. Cohen summoned her to someone else’s office in the company, where he continued to diminish her capabilities. This time he did it in front of others and used vulgar language again. She said that Mr. Cohen threatened to expel her.

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“Cohen made fun of me, calling me” foolish “and incompetent, she said in the complaint. “He told me I was wrong about everything.” She added, “I have to fire you because you are so stupid.”

Ultimately, Point72 fired her, in October 2019, prompting her to file an anti-discrimination complaint with the Connecticut Commission. Just one month before its launch, Point72 Congratulations tweet her For being one of the “50 Pioneer Women in Hedge Funds” by an industry publication.

“We determined that Mrs. Favra made many misrepresentations while working on things large and small, and the same applies to her complaint, including the particularly offensive accusation that Steve used vulgar language when addressing her,” said Tiffany Galvin Cohen, of Point72 spokeswoman. “Steve categorically denies making this comment to Ms. Vavra at any time.”

The complaint became public recently because Ms Vavra asked the committee in December to release her jurisdiction over the matter, granting her the right to file a case in court. The New York Times had a pending freedom of information request to complain. Point72 submitted her own papers opposing her claims.

Ms. Vavra and her lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. The case is now being filed in private arbitration between the parties.

The allegations against Mr. Cohen and his company come at a time of growing concern about the treatment of women on Wall Street and in the world of professional sports. In July, the Washington Post published an article on A. History of sexism Abuse of female employees on the Washington soccer team. Houston Astros Fired Assistant General Manager, Brandon TubmanAfter he made inappropriate comments to a group of women journalists after his post-season victory in 2019.

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A number of professional baseball teams have taken steps to create top jobs for women. Miami Marlins She hired Kim Ng In November as the first general manager of Major League Baseball, and the Boston Red Sox on Monday She hired Bianca Smith, Believed to be the first black coach in a high school baseball tournament.

In the run-up to baseball team owners agreeing to Mr. Cohen’s $ 2.4 billion bid to buy Mets, there was concern about whether a series of Allegations of sexual behavior in Point72 It might block the deal. It was known at the time that Mrs. Vavra had filed a complaint against Point72, but the exact nature of it was not clear because the matter was sealed.

Major League Baseball declined to comment for this article.

Mr. Cohen has sought to engage with Prof. 2018 lawsuit accuses Point72 Promoting an anti-women workplace by settling with the person who made that complaint, Lauren Boehner, for an undisclosed sum last summer. In this case, Ms Bonner painted a picture of Mr. Cohen’s company as a boys’ club fueled by testosterone, where female employees are paid less than their male counterparts, and where senior male employees regularly comment on women’s bodies and belittle women and their abilities. At meetings.

The dispute with Ms Bonner, a former executive in Point72’s recruitment division, was resolved last year after the matter was moved to arbitration.

But Ms Boehner’s lawsuit and the complaint she filed in arbitration did not include any accusation that Mr Cohen used offensive and offensive language that Ms Vavra said he used with her in 2019.

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In the 22-page complaint – technically called affidavit of an unlawful discriminatory practice – Ms. Vavra said Mr. Cohen had publicly attacked her for several months in 2019, often using four-letter words to do so. She said he verbally rebuked her even though her trade group was a top performer in the hedge fund and received a positive performance rating from Mr. Cohen in December 2018. Ms. Vavra said Mr. Cohen told her she was one of the company’s most serious worker members, and she was awarded a performance bonus.

The complaint contains accusations that others in the company that employs 1,400 employees made sexist comments. Ms. Vavra said Mr. Cohen had a similar habit of publicly reprimanding his aid. She said his verbal behavior was so bad that the company had to move some of his aid “to a different wing of the building so that they would not hear him.” The company disputes Ms. Favra’s claims about how assistants are treated.

Ms Vavra filed her complaint after she was fired from Point72 and replaced with a man. She led the hedge fund team of so-called global macro traders – a group that places bets on monetary and geopolitical events. Ms. Favra said she was fired over Point72’s practice of employing double standards regarding the company’s few female employees. She said the hedge fund alleged it fired her for “gross misconduct” and for violating company policies.