Skip to comments.2 Wall St. Firings Said to Be Linked to Harassment
Posted on 03/07/2003 6:59:03 AM PST by freepatriot32
J. P. Morgan Chase has dismissed two investment bankers, one of whom was a managing director, after a fellow banker complained that they had sexually accosted a woman who worked with them, current and former employees at the company said this week.
The two bankers who were dismissed, Palden Gyuimed Namgyal and Norman Gretzinger, made unwanted and inappropriate advances toward the woman in a bar, these people said. When the woman, a less-senior investment banker at J. P. Morgan, protested, another high-ranking investment banker who was there intervened, they said. He later reported the incident to the firm's personnel department, which investigated
After the woman and other employees who were there supported the account of the incident, the firm dismissed Mr. Namgyal and Mr. Gretzinger two weeks ago, these people said. That swift and severe action against high-ranking and highly paid employees shows how seriously some big investment banks now treat complaints of sexual harassment, some people on Wall Street said.
The men, who live in Bronxville, N.Y., declined to comment on their dismissals.
Employees in many industries are routinely fired for harassment and discrimination. But brokerage firms and trading floors have largely retained reputations as places where such behavior often goes unpunished. They have repeatedly been sued by women who complained of unfair and sometimes demeaning treatment.
Two of the biggest brokerage firms, Merrill Lynch and the Smith Barney unit of Citigroup, settled class-action suits that were filed by women brokers in the 1990's. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing another big securities firm, Morgan Stanley, on behalf of women who worked in its investment bank. A trial in that case is expected to begin later this year.
"This goes right under the category of ethics, and we are in a whole new climate," said Janet Hanson, a money manager who founded 85 Broads, a network of women who have worked at Goldman, Sachs. "This may just be the beginning of companies' behaving in a very, very different manner because the liability is too great. The Street is getting that message."
Ms. Hanson, the chief executive of Milestone Capital in Yonkers, said she believed that J. P. Morgan was taking a "zero tolerance" approach to dealing with employee misconduct and that the firm was less tolerant of such behavior than its peers.
Kristin C. Lemkau, a spokeswoman for J. P. Morgan, declined to discuss details of the incident or the dismissals. Describing the firm's policies, she said: "We do not tolerate sexual harassment or discriminatory behavior of any kind. Employees who are found in violation of the firm's policies are terminated without exception."
The incident that led to the dismissals occurred after a holiday party given by a senior investment banker at J. P. Morgan. After leaving the party, a group of the bank's employees went to a bar, where the two bankers pressed up against the unidentified woman, sandwiching her between them.
When confronted by officials of the firm about their behavior, Mr. Namgyal and Mr. Gretzinger did not dispute that their conduct had been inappropriate, current and former employees of the firm said. Licensing records maintained by NASD, the biggest regulator of securities firms, do not yet reflect that the men no longer work at J. P. Morgan.
On Wall Street, any indication that an employee was fired for cause is considered a big obstacle to finding work again in the industry. In the midst of one of the securities industry's steepest slumps, it could be a crippling blow, people on Wall Street said.
"It would be very difficult, particularly in this economy, to find another job," Ms. Hanson said.
People who have worked with the men said that their job performance was not a factor in their dismissals.
Mr. Namgyal, who was a managing director, and Mr. Gretzinger, a vice president, were consumer-products bankers who had handled the sales of well-known companies and brands like Domino's Pizza, StarKist tuna and Trojan condoms. They had been representing Playtex Products, which has been searching for a buyer since late last year.
Mr. Namgyal, 39, is the son of Palden Thondup Namgyal, who was the last king of Sikkim, a tiny protectorate in the Himalayas that is now part of India.
Mr. Namgyal's mother is Hope Cooke, an American who married the future king in a celebrated wedding in 1963. Mr. Namgyal and his family were royalty for part of Mr. Namgyal's childhood. When he was 9, his mother moved with him and his sister to New York and enrolled them in the Dalton School in Manhattan.
India stripped the king of his powers and later annexed Sikkim. Mr. Namgyal's parents divorced and his father died in New York in 1982.
You can't be serious.
I think a lot of this harrassment stuff is bs, but if it is actually occuring, it doesn't have to be on the company clock. I have witnessed scum bags making these unwanted advances and threatening future retribution in bars in the past. Real harrassment isn't hard to spot, where ever it occurs.
It really is.
In this case. Not in all cases. I have seen the other side as well.
False accusations or imagined trespasses abound as well.
Sometimes money is involved, then you can throw all the rules away.
Glad to hear it. I hope the false accuser was made to pay a price. This kind of stuff is just as bad, if not worse than the original problem because it denigrates the true cases.
Bottom line -- keep your business life and your sex life reasonably separate, and you don't have much to worry about in terms of false allegations by co-workers.
If you want to be insulted or be a victim, you can usually find a way.
True harrassment is dispicable.
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