Sex Discrimination Lawsuit Describes “Boys’ Club” Atmosphere, Alleges Attempted Securities Fraud in Major Bank

Lower Manhattan AerialFederal and state employment statutes protect employees from discrimination on the basis of sex and other protected traits, and they also prohibit retaliation for reporting alleged violations of these laws. Protections against retaliation also extend to workers who act as “whistleblowers” by reporting suspected financial crimes. A lawsuit in New York City combines allegations of sex discrimination with whistleblower retaliation claims under two major financial laws. The plaintiff’s complaint describes an alleged culture of unequal treatment based on gender, including unequal pay and job responsibilities. She further alleges that a supervisor harassed her to obtain information to use in insider trading, and the defendant terminated her in retaliation for reporting the matter. The lawsuit asserts causes of action under state and federal anti-discrimination laws and federal financial statutes.

The plaintiff asserts sex discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims under a New York state law, which is similar to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. N.J. Rev. Stat. § 10:5-12(a). She is also alleging gender-based pay discrimination under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d). She has reportedly filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and she will add claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a), once the administrative process is complete.

The plaintiff is also claiming violations of the whistleblower protection provisions in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, 15 U.S.C. § 78u- 6(h)(1); and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, 18 U.S.C. § 1514A. Employers that are subject to these laws cannot terminate or otherwise retaliate against an employee for reporting alleged financial fraud or impropriety, for participating in an investigation of alleged financial impropriety, or for disclosing information to a government agency in the manner required by law. Both statutes allow private causes of action by aggrieved employees.

The defendant hired the plaintiff to work in its brokerage department in November 2007, according to her complaint. She alleges that an ongoing pattern of discrimination began around 2012. Her position at that time included the authority to allocate certain stocks, which was a significant advancement. She alleges that she lost access to this system in 2012 due to “deliberate[] sabotage[].” She characterizes her position after that as “a glorified secretary.”

At some point during her employment by the defendant, the plaintiff states that she became “the authority on any trade that would be governed by Rule 144 (restricted stock)” [emphasis in original]. 17 C.F.R. § 230.144. She alleges that a supervisor “constantly demanded that [she] disclose material nonpublic information of which he knew she was in possession…so that he could pass the information along to his favored clients.” Since this would violate federal securities law, the plaintiff reported the matter to the defendant’s inside counsel and human resources department. She states that she was terminated two weeks later, allegedly in retaliation for whistleblowing.

The whistleblower attorneys at Resnick Law Group can help you with your employment matter in New Jersey or New York. Contact us today online, at 973-781-1204, or at 646-867-7997 to speak with a member of our team.

More Blog Posts:

Former Employee Files Suit Under New Jersey Whistleblower Law, Claiming Employer Fired Her for Reporting Financial Misconduct, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, April 15, 2016

Former New Jersey Prison Official Awarded $7.7 Million in Whistleblower Lawsuit, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, January 4, 2016

Second Circuit Adopts Broad Definition of “Whistleblower” in Dodd-Frank Retaliation Lawsuit, The New Jersey Employment Law Firm Blog, October 20, 2015

Photo credit: Ibagli (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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