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Morgan Stanley will pay $16M to settle race bias suit

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Hiring,Human Resources

A federal judge has given final approval to the settlement of a race discrimination lawsuit brought by financial advisors against Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc.

The settlement establishes a $16 million fund, of which $14 million will be divided among class members who submitted claims. Under the settlement, Morgan Stanley will spend approximately $7.5 million on diversity programs, including programs aimed at training and recruiting black and Hispanic financial advisors and trainees over the next five years.

The settlement ends an impasse that began in July 2008, when plaintiff Denise Williams had objected to an initial settlement. Williams argued she had not had an opportunity to offer input on the settlement, that the dollar amount was inadequate and that the agreement would not solve the problems that African-American advisors at Morgan Stanley face.

U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson concluded that Williams had in fact been involved in the settlement process and that the monetary consideration under the settlement was fair and adequate. The court also rejected the argument that the settlement was inadequate in that it did not require goals or timetables to remedy racial disparities in pay and hiring.

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