M&S represented a class of female Financial Advisors and Registered Advisor Trainees who were employed by Morgan Stanley in its Global Wealth Management Group. The focus of the lawsuit was gender inequality in the business practices of Morgan Stanley, which was evident in the inequitable distribution of accounts and other opportunities for female employees.
The named plaintiffs, eight women from five states, on behalf of themselves and a class of about 2,700 fellow female Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors, filed an amended complaint alleging discrimination on April 24, 2007. On October 26, 2007, Judge Richard Roberts, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, approved a class settlement.
The settlement contained programmatic relief to help prevent discrimination against female financial advisors in the future. When Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney merged, the programmatic relief in this settlement was combined with the programmatic relief in a related case against Smith Barney. Morgan Stanley also paid the class a total of $46 million that, after deduction of attorneys’ fees and expenses, was allocated among class members based on information contained in their claim forms.