Discrimination claim filed by ex-Morgan Stanley rep sent to arbitration

Judge rules that John Lockette was bound by a company policy requiring employees to arbitrate all claims

Oct 4, 2018 @ 4:26 pm

By Bruce Kelly

In February, a black former Morgan Stanley registered rep sued the wirehouse, saying he was terminated following a "campaign of harassment," even after the settlement a decade ago of a class-action discrimination lawsuit.

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that the rep, John Lockette, must pursue his claim in private arbitration rather than in court.

According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan ruled that Mr. Lockette was bound by a company policy requiring employees to arbitrate all claims, including discrimination claims.

"We are pleased with the court's decision in this case," a Morgan Stanley spokesperson told the news service. "The firm is strongly committed to non-discrimination and looks forward to addressing this dispute on the merits."

Mr. Lockette's lawyer, Linda Friedman, said her client filed the lawsuit "because he thought there were racial disparities at Morgan Stanley. I think Wall Street is 40 years behind where the rest of the country is in respect to civil right laws, because they spend so much time getting civil rights cases out of court and into private arbitration."

Mr. Lockette worked at Morgan Stanley as an assistant vice president in its wealth management division from 2013 until he was fired in August 2016. Ms. Friedman said he trained other advisers at the wirehouse.

He alleged in his complaint that the reforms obtained by the settlements of earlier class-action suits have "utterly failed" and that the company's discriminatory policies and practices continue.

According to his BrokerCheck report, Mr. Lockette is not currently working in the securities industry.

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