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Sterling Employment Law

Multinational financial firm targeted in discrimination lawsuit

Short on widespread discriminatory evidence, but long on damning statistics. That is essentially one summation of a workplace discrimination lawsuit filed recently against mega Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley by an ex-employee.

And not just any former worker. The litigation filed in a federal court the last day of June was commenced by Marilyn Booker, the bank's longtime head of diversity. Booker was reportedly fired last December, and the allegations in her recent legal filing underscore that she has no intent to suffer silently in the wake of her termination.

Booker states that her ouster was wrongful and, in fact, ironically tied to her efforts to promote career opportunities and advancement for the bank's Black employees.

That was an arduous task, she says, owing to the company's abysmal track record in fostering inclusion in its various departments. Booker's lawsuit contends that senior positions in the company have historically been almost exclusively tied to a male-and-white-only demographic.

Booker's litigation does get specific on several points. One national media report on the lawsuit cites "a number of instances" where it details personally aimed discriminatory conduct during her 26-year tenure. Moreover, she cites multiple times when Black job applicants were rejected without any stated rationale for the company's decision.

The bank unsurprisingly denies Booker's claim, citing progressively increasing Black representation across the company and developed programs to support minority workers.

Booker calls the company's response "lip service." A representative for her says that Morgan Stanley "has had decades to get its house in order" and must now "be held accountable for looking the other way" when noting in-house discrimination.

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