Morgan Stanley was hit with a racial discrimination lawsuit Thursday, a decade after settling a class-action lawsuit over the same issues.
John Lockette, an African-American former wealth manager at the investment bank, brought the lawsuit, claiming he was denied raises, received negative performance reviews, called derisive nicknames and fired for bringing up the company’s racial biases.
Lockette said he started complaining about how he was treated about two years before his August 2016 termination. He claimed a supervisor even suggested that he join a special program to prepare for the Series 7 broker examination because black people’s intellectual weaknesses left them inherently less capable of passing the test.
The lawsuit also claims that Morgan Stanley uses certain methods to force unhappy employees to arbitrate their claims instead of working together to bring class-action lawsuits in court.
In 2007, Morgan Stanley settled a class-action lawsuit for $16 million. The lawsuit alleged that branch managers steered new and existing accounts to white male brokers, which deprived black and Latino financial advisors from earning commissions and promotions.
“Morgan Stanley has no genuine intent to reform, to provide equal opportunities to African-Americans, or to abide by the spirit of its agreement” to settle the racial discrimination claims, Lockette said in the lawsuit.
Lockette is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, back pay and an injunction against further discrimination.
Linda Friedman, an attorney for Lockette, said that blacks who work for Morgan Stanley deal with “a lack of support, undue criticism, and a lack of trust and sincere belief in their capacity to contribute or lead.”
“Wall Street has a belief that money is not green, it’s white,” she added.
Morgan Stanley has denied all of Lockette’s claims.
“The firm is strongly committed to nondiscrimination, and looks forward to addressing this former employee’s claims on the merits,” spokeswoman Christy Jockle said in an email.
This isn’t the first time a company has been accused of racial discrimination. Last November, Tesla was sued for allegedly treating its black employees unfairly.
Former employee Marcus Vaughn filed the lawsuit against the automaker on behalf of a large class of black workers at the company’s Fremont, California factory.
Vaughn claimed that he was frequently called the “n-word” by coworkers and supervisors and that human resources never investigated his claims.
Vaughn was fired shortly after for not having a positive attitude. He’s seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit.