Morgan Stanley Settles Sex-Bias Suit with $54 Million Out of Court
Faced with charges of sex discrimination in the workplace, Morgan Stanley agreed yesterday to pay a $54 million settlement rather than stand trial. The lawsuit, settled with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), came just minutes before an EEOC lawyer would have switched on a projector and displayed statistical evidence against the firm. Female employees claimed that the company systematically denied them equal pay and promotions, and excluded the women from meeting with clients, often setting up male-only functions at strip clubs and golf games, according to Bloomberg.com.
While Forbes.com notes that the $54 million settlement is merely a pittance for the Wall Street firm (representing just one day’s worth of revenue for Morgan Stanley), the EEOC win is the second biggest sex-bias settlement to date. Twelve million dollars of the settlement money will go to the lead plaintiff, Allison Schieffelin. Within 10 days, Morgan Stanley must contact all women who have worked for the company since 1995 and invite them to come forward and file claims. An estimated 340 female employees may file complaints, and an outside monitor will distribute $40 million of remaining settlement funds accordingly, reports The New York Times. Two million dollars have been reserved for diversity programs and anti-discrimination training to ensure future gender equity and success for women at Morgan Stanley, according to The New York Times.
Judge Richard M. Berman called the settlement “a watershed in safeguarding and promoting the rights of women on Wall Street,” according to The New York Times. Women currently comprise a “shrinking portion” of Wall Street employees, making up thirty-seven percent of the entire Wall Street workforce, down from 43 percent in 1999, according to Bloomberg.com.
Sexism and pay discrepancies extend from Wall Street firms to Middle-America Wal-Mart stores to Pennsylvania Avenue. Recent figures leaked from the White House reveal that women in the Bush administration earn about 78 percent of male employees’ salaries, due to the fact that men occupy 12 out of 17 top pay scale jobs and dominate high-end positions, according to The Washington Post.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .