Marilyn Booker, Morgan Stanley’s diversity chief for 16 years until 2011, charges that “White male-centric leadership” fired her in December after refusing to implement her plan to counter racial bias at the wirehouse, according to the publication.
In a statement emailed to Barron’s Advisor, a Morgan Stanley spokesperson said the firm “strongly” rejects the allegations and would “vigorously defend” itself.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in a federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., comes amid growing calls for corporate diversity sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests that were spurred by the police killing of George Floyd.
A lack of diversity has long dogged the financial sector, including wealth management. Bloomberg reports that just 2.2% of Morgan Stanley’s U.S. executives are African-American, and that number has remained fixed for the past three years.
Booker, who had been a managing director at Morgan Stanley, claims she pointed out “irrefutable and appalling patterns” in hiring, retaining, and advancing black employees. Morgan Stanley only paid “lip service” to the concerns, according to the suit. The firm also steadily shrank Booker’s budget, she charges.
“We are steadfast in our commitment to improve the diversity of our employees and have made steady progress—while recognizing that we have further progress to make,” the Morgan Stanley spokesperson said. “We will continue to advance our high priority efforts to achieve a more diverse and inclusive firm.”
Booker wants Morgan Stanley barred from discriminating against her and other black women, and seeks unspecified damages, Bloomberg writes.
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