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Ripples of the boom-boom room? Women v. Citigroup/Smith Barney

How long will it take to disinfect the boom-boom room? Looks like at least a decade, given the allegations filed March 31 by four financial consultants -- all women -- against Smith Barney, the retail brokerage arm of Citigroup (America's largest financial institution).

According to the Newswire, this national class action lawsuit,

"... [c]harges that Smith Barney has engaged in a pattern and practice of gender discrimination against its female financial consultants in account distribution, sales support, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment throughout the company. The women allege violations of federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act." See Fassbender Amochaev v. Citigroup Global Markets, Inc., d/b/a Smith Barney, Case No. C051-298 (PJH) (N.D. Cal.)."

The suit is a direct result of the "Women on Wall Street Project," an initiative embraced by the National Council for Women's Organizations in the wake of its initiative to end the male-only membership policy of the private Augusta National Golf Club. Last year, the women's organization foreshadowed the lawsuit in a news story I found on its Web site:

"[NCWO Chair Martha] Burk announced that she would spend the next 12 months working with the public advocacy law firm Mehri and Skalet of Washington, D.C., to investigate claims of discrimination brought by women at eight Wall Street firms: Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase and Co., Prudential Financial, Franklin Templeton Investments, American Express, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Morgan Stanley.

Burk says that over the past year she has received 75 to 100 complaints from women who work at these firms, all of which have chief executive officers who belong to Augusta."

The plaintiff's attorney has an eye-popping record of success. According to this story by Susan Antilla for the Aug. 9 New York magazine, Cyrus Mehri, the Washington, D.C., lawyer Burk hired to look into financial-industry discrimination, "won $176 million from Texaco for race claimants."

See the NCWO Web site for a plaintiffs-oriented press release and fact sheet (at bottom) on the case. I haven't read the briefs filed in federal court yesterday in San Francisco, but I'm on the hunt for a comprehensive list of sexual discrimination settlements paid out by Wall Street firms in the past decade. If you have a list, please e-mail me here.

Posted by Product Team on April 1, 2005 at 01:52 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (1)


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