$33 million Smith Barney sex-bias settlement approved

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

A federal district court judge recently approved a $33 million settlement reached between Citigroup and female financial advisors in its Smith Barney unit.

Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California gave final approval to the settlement of the sex discrimination lawsuit, filed in 2005, alleging systemic discrimination “based upon companywide policies and practices and the result of unchecked sex bias that pervades the corporate culture.”

The settlement certified a class of female financial advisors working in Smith Barney’s retail brokerage division between Aug. 30, 2003, and March 1, 2008. Others in the class included women who worked in Smith Barney’s California brokerages between June 25, 2003, and March 1, 2008.

Under the terms of the settlement, Citigroup agreed to change the way Smith Barney distributes compensation and business opportunities. It will also implement a new employee-ranking system.

Citigroup, which didn’t admit to liability or wrongdoing, also agreed to retain an independent monitor to oversee its new practices.

Final note:
Now is a good time to review your policies to identify any hidden sex bias. Don’t wait for a lawsuit and all the negative publicity it could generate.

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