EEOC Charges Morgan Stanley With Gender Discrimination

September 10, 2001 ( - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has accused Wall Street brokerage Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. of discriminating against a top bond saleswoman fired last October and as many as 100 other female employees.

The EEOC is suing Morgan Stanley on behalf of Allison Schieffelin and other female Morgan Stanley employees, the agency said Monday. The nature and size of the class-action lawsuit is the first of its kind against a brokerage, according to EEOC General Counsel Elizabeth Grossman.

The EEOC contends Schieffelin’s gender prevented her from being promoted to managing director and caused her to be paid less than her male peers. Morgan Stanley then fired Schieffelin when she objected, the lawsuit charged. It was part of a pattern of discriminating against women dating to 1995, the EEOC said.

Morgan Stanley has disputed the EEOC’s claims, noting that Schieffelin was the highest paid salesperson on her desk and that the job she claims she was denied because of gender bias in fact went to another woman.

Principal Difference

Schieffelin worked her way up to principal, making more than $1 million a year. But she never received a promotion to managing director, a job with much higher compensation prospects, according to the federal agency. The EEOC claims men who were less or no more qualified than Schieffelin did get managing director promotions and also contends Schieffelin would have been paid more if she was a man.

Schieffelin first filed a formal complaint in November 1998 and said she was regularly harassed at work until she was fired. Morgan Stanley said Schieffelin, who is still out of a job, was fired for insubordination.

– Fred Schneyer