A leading brokerage firm has just agreed to settle a multi-million dollar lawsuit based on racial discrimination filed by black brokers on Wall Street. The payout would be the largest race discrimination by an American employer and underscores that blacks in in the financial capital arena still face a tough row to hoe in climbing the corporate ladder. For many black Americans, a half century after Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, there is still a glass ceiling for African-Americans. Dr. King’s words remains an elusive dream.
A legal spokesperson for a leading brokerage firm has stated the continued practice of under-hiring black brokers has made it difficult for them to achieve success. The lawsuit may come to signify more than just a brokerage issue but may also be at the core of the under-employment of African-Americans.
Many financial advisers are hesitant to admit there is a long-standing pattern of racial discrimination on Wall Street. The first black man to trade on the New York Stock Exchange was a former professional football player back in 1970. Since then, there has been an increase in the percentage of black individuals who have been hired and promoted by firms on Wall Street. Observers claim both women and blacks are not receiving employment or compensation compared to the overall population. One government report claims that the diversity in the financial industry did not substantially change from 1993 to 2008, and the majority of management positions are still held by white males.
There have been other lawsuits by African-Americans directed at large brokerage firms, despite allegations of equity in the financial world. Defenses against allegations of race discrimination have stated that those individuals involved have been under-qualified or have not met job expectations. Yet, the continuing pattern bespeaks a covert racial agenda. In a country where the twice-elected president is a black man, Wall Street appears to be reserved for the good old boys.
Wall Street, like any other job arena, should be a place where people who earn money should be rewarded for their efforts and not the color of their skin. Any worker who suspects he or she is a victim of race discrimination at the work place may wish to consult with a legal advisor to protect his or her constitutional rights on the job.
nbcnews.com, “Wall Street an elusive dream for black Americans” Dan Mangan, Aug. 28, 2013