Wall Street Sex-Bias Case Settled
Under the settlement, the women on whose behalf the EEOC filed suit do not automatically qualify for a cash payout. Instead, each one would have to make a formal claim that includes evidence of discrimination. A retired federal appeals judge, Abner Mikva of the District, has been appointed to weigh those claims and decide whether they are valid and how much money each woman should be awarded.
If there is money left over, Morgan Stanley would use it to fund scholarships for women interested in working in financial services, said Morgan Stanley general counsel Donald G. Kempf Jr.
The consent decree, which will stay in effect for three years, also calls for Morgan Stanley to name an internal ombudsman to act as a point person on sex discrimination issues and an external monitor to review the company's adherence to the settlement and progress at preventing discrimination.
"What's significant [about the settlement] is not only the magnitude of $54 million but also the three-year commitment that Morgan Stanley has made to scrutinize their practices and policies, rather than just writing a check," said Pearl Zuchlewski, a New York employment lawyer who represents financial services professionals.
The EEOC's settlement with Morgan Stanley is the second-largest involving sex discrimination that the agency has ever negotiated. The supermarket chain Publix signed an $81.5 million deal in 1997. Mitsubishi Motors paid $34 million in 1998 to settle the largest sexual harassment complaint.
Morgan Stanley and the EEOC have being trying to settle this case for several years. Berman twice insisted that both EEOC chief executive Cari M. Dominguez and Morgan Stanley chairman Philip J. Purcell appear personally, as he, too, sought a negotiated resolution. But it was not until after eight women and four men were picked for the jury and opening arguments were scheduled for Monday that the participants found common ground. Both Dominguez and Purcell were involved in the negotiations over the weekend, Berman said.
"We are pleased that Morgan Stanley worked cooperatively with us to resolve this litigation," Dominguez said in a news release issued jointly with the investment firm. "With this settlement, Morgan Stanley has taken an important leadership step in adopting progressive programs to promote diversity that should serve as a model for the financial services industry."
And Purcell said in the same release, "We are proud of our commitment to diversity, and would like to thank the EEOC staff for working with us to conclude this matter in such a positive way." About 48 percent of Morgan Stanley's U.S. employees are female, as are 35 percent of "officials and managers."
After Berman announced that he had approved the settlement, a beaming Schieffelin, who was fired by Morgan Stanley in 2000, hugged her mother and nearly a dozen supporters. She then stood outside in the rain to give a brief statement. "I am so happy that there is a settlement agreement that is good for everybody," said the trader, who made about $1.35 million the year she filed her complaint.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company