Philip Purcell's Morgan Stanley was hit with another public relations disaster yesterday when a government agency said firing former bond salesperson and whistle-blower Allison Schieffelin was an act of illegal retaliation.
The embarrassing finding was issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission at the conclusion of its months-long investigation into the firm and its practices.
The results may open the dam for sex-bias suits by women executives at the firm.
"There are maybe 100 other women, officers of the firm, that may join in the suit against Morgan Stanley," said Scheiffelin's lawyer Wayne Outten, of Outten & Golden in New York.
Some of these women have already been in contact with the lawyer who specializes in cases against employers.
The bruising follows on the heels of several public relations debacles for the firm, including the conspicuous ouster of popular No. 2 John Mack and subsequent high-level departures gutting upper management.
Moreover, another discrimination suit recently ended in a controversial settlement that appeared to make an instant millionaire of former junior analyst Christopher Curry - even though the firm denies he got a dime. Curry was fired after posing nude in a gay pornographic magazine.
Scheiffelin claimed that the firm abruptly fired her after she'd worked there for 14 years to retaliate against her for filing sex discrimination charges with the EEOC in 1998.
The EEOC agreed and has ordered Morgan Stanley to make an acceptible settlement with Schieffelin or face a lawsuit.
Morgan Stanley officials said they were disappoined by the EEOC's determination and still believe they were right to terminate Scheiffelin's employment.
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