Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is suing Morgan Stanley & Co, one of the world’s largest financial services firms, alleging a longstanding pattern of systemic racial discrimination.
Crump filed the lawsuit on Wednesday on behalf of Anthony Fletcher, a recruiter who was contracted to hire “Black talent” for the financial firm for seven years up until March 2022. In the 25-page complaint, Fletcher, who is Black, claimed that only 16 of the 200 “highly qualified diverse candidates” he sourced were hired for management roles.
The veteran recruiter, who owns the Illinois-based My Future Consulting also alleged that Morgan Stanley placed some of the “diverse” hires into low-paying roles at the firm. As a result, Fletcher claims, he earned far less than his peers.
According to the lawsuit, Morgan Stanley allegedly denied Fletcher access to standard tools for his job and hired candidates he sourced behind his back to avoid paying him appropriate compensation. The complaint notes that the Black recruiter’s pay was cut down “below the industry standard of 33.33 percent to 20 percent.” The financial firm allegedly based their decision “only on first-year salary rather than total compensation for the hire, including bonuses— all because of the recruiter’s ”race,” the lawsuit stated.
When Fletcher reported the discrimination he and his candidates faced, his contract was swiftly terminated and the company hired a white complex director candidate to take over his position.
Crump says Morgan Stanley has a long history of discrimination against Black employees.
Crump said that the financial firm had a long-standing history of intentional discrimination against Black employees that has led to their underrepresentation in financial advisor, management and executive roles. According to the civil rights leaders, only about 1 percent of 18,000 tenured Morgan Stanley Financial advisors are Black.
“The pattern is clear that Morgan Stanley has a deep and wide institutional bias against Black people,” the 53-year-old attorney said in a statement.
“We have amassed compelling evidence that Morgan Stanley is reluctant to hire Black employees; it doesn’t believe people want Black financial advisors, and it doesn’t think Black people have money to invest,” Crump added.
Data revealed that the controversial brokerage firm paid white financial advisors 30 percent more in comparison to Black advisors. There were also cases where Black financial advisors were segregated and excluded from lucrative partnerships and financial opportunities while employed with the company.
Fletcher is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He also wants the firm to address and apologize for its discriminatory practices to create a more equitable work environment.
A Morgan Stanley spokesperson denied the allegations, claiming that Fletcher’s termination stemmed from a “fee dispute.”
“We categorically reject the allegations of this complaint which is based on a fee dispute with an external recruiter whose contract was terminated,” she wrote. “Morgan Stanley remains steadfast in our commitment to build a workforce that is inclusive and diverse.”
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