Sexual harassment charges can quickly derail a supervisor’s career. Although sexual harassment charges are heard, sometimes the alleged perpetrator does not receive due process and is wrongfully terminated. If a person accused of sexual harassment is fired without the appropriate procedural steps, the company could end up paying significant amounts of money for a breach of employment contract.
A former Morgan Stanley executive has been the recipient of just such a judgment this month, as a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel ruled that he should receive approximately $1 million in compensatory damages. The three-member panel decided that the man had been unlawfully terminated after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced at his firm.
The man had been assigned to oversee a branch manager that was underperforming, according to official documents. That branch manager submitted a complaint about the man to upper management. That same week, the man met with his supervisors and was told that he would be required to resign or be fired; he chose to accept the forced resignation. The decision came at a time during which wealth management firms had been forced to lay off many of their workers, so the resignation requirement was doubly suspicious.
During arbitration, the man’s lawyers alleged that he had not been given adequate time to respond to the allegations. Not everyone accused of sexual harassment actually commits the acts of which they are accused, but this man was left without procedural recourse to prove his innocence. Although he is dismayed that the settlement was significantly less than the $8 million he had sought in connection with the case, the man reports that he still feels vindicated by the decision.
The man has since moved on to a similarly high-ranking position at another financial institution in South Florida. Even though he said his career has been stunted by the sexual harassment allegations, he looks forward to moving on with his professional ventures.
Source: On Wall Street, “Arbitration panel awards former Morgan Stanley manager $1M,” Lorie Konish, Jan. 7, 2013.