Ex RBC Trader Claims She Was Fired for Dating Ponzi Schemer

September 21, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A female trader formerly with RBC Capital Markets is suing the firm for gender bias, saying she was dismissed for dating a hedge fund manager charged with running a Ponzi scheme.

In the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Lindy Boville accuses RBC of using her relationship with James Nicholson as a pretext for firing her in March 2009 and assigning her accounts to male colleagues, according to Reuters. Boville said she dated Nicholson on and off between March 2008 and February 2009, but had no business dealings with him.

She claims male colleagues who did work with Nicholson were not punished by RBC, the news report said.

Nicholson ran Westgate Capital Management LLC in Pearl River, New York, prior to being arrested on February 25. A grand jury in April indicted him for fraud for running an alleged Ponzi scheme since 2004 that caused $150 million of investor losses, Reuters reports.

Boville said RBC filed a termination notice that falsely said she “showed poor judgment in financing efforts for hedge fund,” and said the notice has made it hard for her to find a new job and caused one employment offer to be rescinded. She is seeking to recover lost pay and benefits, compensatory and punitive damages, and other remedies.

“Ms. Boville showed poor judgment in helping Jim Nicholson raise money for his hedge fund and failing to disclose her activities to her supervisors. It is irrelevant that she had a personal relationship with Nicholson, and she should have told RBC what she was doing,” RBC spokesman Kevin Foster said in an email, according to Reuters. The lawsuit said that although Boville received the highest rating on her 2008 review, RBC on March 16, 2009, told her she was fired because it had “lost confidence” in her in light of her “personal association with Mr. Nicholson.”

The lawsuit also said that prior to being dismissed, Boville was subjected to repeated advances and graphic comments about her appearance by male colleagues at RBC.

The case is Boville v. RBC Capital Markets Corp, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), No. 09-8016.