Judge Postpones Morgan Stanley Sex Discrimination Suit

July 8, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal judge delayed a sex discrimination trial against Morgan Stanley this week to "consider and resolve legal objections" related to witnesses in the case.

Wednesday’s postponement came US District Judge Richard Berman accused lawyers of bogging the case down with their squabbling over witnesses and evidence, including more than a million e-mails. “This is the most litigious, contentious and voluminous – unnecessarily so – record of any case I’ve ever had,” the judge said, according to the Associated Press.

News of the delay came just before jury selection was to begin in federal court. Under a revised schedule jury selection was pushed back until Friday, with opening statements pushed back to Monday, a clerk for Berman told the Associated Press.

The suit, brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleges Morgan Stanley propagated a pattern of discrimination that denied scores of women promotions and higher salaries given to less productive men. To support this claim the EEOC was expected to call about two dozen women to testify.

The key witness is former bond seller AllisonSchieffelin. 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.

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.