Marilyn Booker’s lawsuit is on behalf of black female employees who themselves allege that Morgan Stanley engaged in systemic discrimination against black financial advisors and trainees.
Booker headed up global diversity at the firm for 16 years, and was the only black female managing director in the firm’s wealth management division in its New York City headquarters when she was fired December last year. Prior to Booker’s firing, she spent months detailing a plan to deal with the bank’s lack of diversity and what she termed in her lawsuit as a toxic workplace culture for employees of color.
While senior leaders at first expressed interest and support for Booker’s efforts to deal with the lack of diversity, as alleged in the suit, they ended up refusing to listen or acknowledge Booker’s plan. The lawsuit alleges that the only reason Booker was given for her firing was that her role in managing the urban markets group, an effort she started in 2011 to assist black communities to accumulate wealth, was being eliminated.
“It’s important that as black people our voices be heard,” Booker told The Washington Post in an interview. “This is my story, but it’s not unique to me. This story is being experienced by so many black people, particularly black women, across Wall Street and corporate America.”
Morgan Stanley “strongly” refuted the allegations and said it would defend itself.