Shortly after the May 25 killing of George Floyd, Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman took to LinkedIn to reaffirm the company's commitment to diversity and inclusion. One Black leader would join the firm's "most senior governing body," while another would step onto its management committee, he announced. Morgan Stanley would donate $5 million and match employee contributions to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. And the firm would add to its core values a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Just over two weeks later, Morgan Stanley's former head of diversity filed a lawsuit against the company, introducing her allegations of race discrimination and retaliation by highlighting the alleged hypocrisy of Gorman's statement.
"These measures would appear, on their face, to be genuine efforts at increasing inclusion and diversity at Morgan Stanley," the complaint read. "Unfortunately, time and time again, Morgan Stanley has utterly failed when it has had to actually look itself in the mirror and decide whether it wants to truly address its deepseated racially unjust policies that have resulted in alarmingly low and disproportionate numbers of Black and other employees of color amongst its ranks, and, in particular, its executive ranks."
Morgan Stanley, which rejected the allegations in statements made to various media outlets, was not the only employer to face such criticism. Whole Foods workers filed suit against the grocer in July, alleging that while the store had marketed its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, it punished workers who donned masks in support of the movement by implementing a previously unenforced dress code.
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