Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Brokerage Woes in Employment Litigation Continue - $3.5 MDV

It may be that a MDV against a brokerage company is barely even news these days as the only reference to last Friday's verdict by a New York federal jury on Google News was a small story in the New York Post which in its entirey reads:

Suit award A federal jury awarded over $3.5 million in damages Friday to a former stockbroker who filed suit against UBS Finan cial Services Inc. for sex discrimination. Roberta Tse, a former financial adviser at one of UBS's flagship branches in Manhattan, sued UBS after she was put on a probationary plan in 2002 and fired eight months later.

A more complete story is at Employment Law 360 UBS Ordered To Pay $3.5M In Sex Bias Case ($). According to that article, the problems for Roberta Tse began when she lost her largest client. Shortly thereafter she was put on a performance improvement plan. She was subsequently fired for absenteeism, which the jury found was not discriminatory. However, it found placing her on the plan was.

One part of the case was the low number of female brokers, as well as evidence that she was treated differently from male brokers who had similar slumps in business. One thing that might catch many employers attention' was the contention that part of the problem was that UBS had no standards for when an employee should be put on a performance improvement plan, but left it to the discretion of the branch manager.

Of course employers who try to provide guidance tailored as it must to many different situations know that quite often they are challenged when such a plan has not been followed precisely. As with many employer challenges, it is hard to get it "just right."

I have been entirely remiss on my MDV reporting with many of them languishing in the draft stage. Since I soon will be talking on the topic at the UT Law School's 14th Labor and Employment Law Seminar on May 18-19, I will try to do some MDV summaries between now and then.


Do you know who represented the parties in that case? Thanks!
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