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Seven African-Americans Suing Morgan Stanley Seek to Lodge Federal Appeal

By Miriam Rozen February 27, 2019

Seven African-Americans who previously worked as FAs at Morgan Stanley and allege the wirehouse engaged in intentional race discrimination filed a request to appeal a New York federal trial court’s order that tossed their proposed class action. That order also dismissed most of the FAs' other claims and compelled some of them to arbitrate.

In a request sent this month, the FAs told an appeals court that when the lower court issued the order, it also simultaneously acknowledged that their “allegations are obviously serious ones, with potentially far-reaching consequences for African-American financial analysts at Morgan Stanley.”

In an emailed statement in response to inquiries for this story, a Morgan Stanley spokeswoman wrote: “Morgan Stanley is strongly committed to attracting, retaining and developing diverse talent and takes complaints of discrimination very seriously. The court reached the right result here, and we look forward to adjudicating the remaining claims on their specific facts.”

The FAs argue in their request that the lower court “imposed requirements that virtually no worker could satisfy in challenging class-wide employment discrimination.”

They also argue that by eliminating their class-wide claims regarding the wirehouse’s policies, which have a disparate impact on African-Americans, the lower court “effectively insulated Morgan Stanley from challenge to its entrenched race-based wage disparities.”

The FAs are represented by Linda Friedman of Stowell & Friedman, a law firm which has won more than $300 million in class action settlements based on discrimination lawsuits its clients filed against other wirehouses, including Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo.

(Getty)

The FAs told the appellate court that if it overturns the lower ruling, they will file a complaint alleging the following:

  • Fewer than 125 of Morgan Stanley’s some 16,000 FAs are African-American
  • The underrepresentation of African-American employees persists in the wirehouse’s management ranks
  • A more than 30% pay gap exists between white and African-American FAs at Morgan Stanley
  • Morgan Stanley’s white FAs are members of “lucrative teams at roughly twice the rate of African-Americans”
  • At Morgan Stanley, African-American FA attrition rates nearly double those of white FAs.