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Ex-BNY Mellon Wealth Management Analyst Sues Alleging Civil Rights Violation

November 29, 2018

BNY Mellon is facing a lawsuit from a former analyst in its wealth management division who says she was wrongly terminated because of a Facebook comment, FA-IQ sister publication Ignites reports.

Lisa Ellis filed a lawsuit in Pittsburgh federal court this month alleging violations of the federal Civil Rights Act, according to the publication. Ellis alleges the firm fired her over a Facebook post it wrongly perceived as racist, Ignites reports.

The post was a Facebook comment on news reports of a Pittsburgh-area councilman facing charges of reckless driving after he allegedly drove through a crowd of demonstrators protesting the killing at the hands of police of Antwon Rose, a 17-year-old black man, according to the publication. Ellis’ comment read, “Total BS. Too bad he didn’t have a bus to plow through,” Ignites writes.

Offended Facebook users discovered Ellis’ employment at BNY Mellon and allegedly began asking for her to be fired, the suit alleges, according to the publication. BNY Mellon human resources vice president Nicole Manns allegedly urged the users to call the firm’s ethics hotline to request her firing, a day after which she was fired, according to the suit, Ignites writes.

"Ellis was not fired for violating BNY Mellon’s code of conduct or for poor job performance," the suit reads, according to the publication. "She was fired because of her race. BNY Mellon would not have fired Ellis if she were not white."

Ellis is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for back and front pay and mental and emotional distress, Ignites writes.

Speaking to Ignites, a BNY Mellon spokeswoman said the firm expects employees to adhere to its code of conduct "to ensure a culture of diversity, inclusion and respect for all individuals."

The spokeswoman said Ellis’s comments "violated that policy, and we took swift action to end her employment.”

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Ignites article cited in this story, click here if you have a paid subscription.