Did a stockbroker end up getting fired because of his clients' religion?
That's the unusual question being posed in a wrongful termination suit against Morgan Stanley, the financial investment and wealth management giant.
A former employee who actively sought to gain clients out of what he perceived as an underserved market: the local Hasidic Jewish community.
He was pretty successful at it, too -- at least until his employer sent someone to talk to him and tell him to stop pursuing these "unicorns," which seemed to be a disparaging term for wealthy Hasidic Jews. The stockbroker decided to ignore the ugly comments from the messenger sent to deliver them, but then suddenly found that four of his applications to work with Hasidic individuals had been rejected -- even though at least one was a million-dollar account.
The stockbroker has filed a wrongful termination suit, alleging that the head of the compliance department told him it would simply be bad for the company's image to be known for working with the Hasidic community, although he never clearly expressed why.
He also says he endured taunts, insults and a generally hostile work environment from other members of the staff who "bullied" him. In the end, the stockbroker claims that the whole ordeal not only ended in his termination but it put his professional reputation in tatters.
On its end of the claim, Morgan Stanley denies that it participated in any form of religious discrimination or anti-Semitic actions.
While most wrongful termination lawsuits involving religion have to do with the wrongfully terminated individual's own religion, it's also illegal to tell someone that he or she can't accept clients of a certain religion. Religious discrimination is expressly forbidden by federal law -- and this would be a case of religious discrimination by association.
An attorney can help if you've been fired either due to your own religion or your association with members of another religion.
Source: siLive.com, "Westerleigh man's lawsuit accuses Morgan Stanley of discriminating against his Hasidic clients," Mira Wassef, Nov. 07, 2017