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Morgan Stanley Accused of Sex Discrimination

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has launched an intensive investigation of how Morgan Stanley treats its women employees with regard to pay and promotion policies after a top salesperson for the company claimed that she was excluded from all-male events and activities.

Allison K. Schieffelin earned more than 1.35 million a year in her high-ranking sales position at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter in 1998, and was the No. 1 ranked salesperson for a custom convertible bond product in 1996. She hoped to become a managing director for the financial firm and considered advancement at the first to be her number one priority in life, according to her lawyer, Wayne Outten.

She first became eligible for a promotion to managing director in 1996, and claims that she was passed over for promotions that were instead given to men who had contributed less to the firm. Schieffelin’s lawyer also said that his client was excluded from golfing events and trips to strip clubs, where her male peers had the opportunity to bond with executives.

Ms. Schieffelin also has charged that Morgan Stanley retaliated against her after she filed an internal sexual harassment complaint against a superior in 1995, and again when she filed her sex discrimination complaint late last year. According to Schieffelin’s lawyer, Morgan Stanley responded to her recent complaint by taking peremptory action against her in an arbitration forum, a move that could potentially force the matter into arbitration and deny Schieffelin the right to file suit against her employer.

Yesterday, the EEOC took Morgan Stanley to U.S. District Court in New York to seek a court order that would force the firm to release data on its promotion and compensation policies. Morgan Stanley has thus far failed to comply with the EEOC’s subpoena for this data, arguing that the requested information is more than is necessary to determine whether or not the firm discriminated against Schieffelin. The EEOC argued that the information is necessary to determine whether or not a pattern of discrimination against women existed at the firm.

Sources:

New York Times - July 29, 1999