declaratory judgement declaring that the acts complained of violate the rights of the Claimant as guaranteed under the applicable Federal Law; granting equitable relief directing Respondents to cease and desist from exposing Claimant to discrimination and retaliation, including full expungement of Claimant's Form U5; directing Respondent to reimburse Claimant for any and all earnings, including bonus payments, back pay, double back pay, contractual damages, and pension benefits; compensatory damages for mental anguish, loss of dignity, humiliation, and injury to livelihood in an amount that is fair, just, and reasonable, to be determined at the hearing, including reasonable attorneys' fees, as provided under applicable law; double back pay for intentional retaliation of Claimant; front pay; contract damages; punitive damages; pre-judgement interest, costs, and attorneys' fees; and such and other relief as the Panel may deem just and proper.
[O]n April 7, 2022, Respondents filed Motions to Dismiss citing FINRA Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes Rule 13511: Discovery Sanctions and Rule 13212: Sanctions. As explained in the FINRA Award:On April 20, 2022, the Panel partially granted Respondents' Motion to Dismiss and dismissed Claimant's claims regarding retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; violation of whistleblower protection under Dodd-Frank; and blacklisting/ tortious intereference [sic] with a prospective employment relationship. Accordingly, the hearings proceeded with respect to the remaining claims. During the evidentiary hearing on May 3, 2022, the Panel imposed a $200.00 sanction against Claimant, and in favor of Respondents, because after all discovery had been completed, Claimant sought to introduce additional documents into evidence that she failed to timely turn over to Respondent which required the Panel to conduct an in camera inspection resulting in an unnecessary executive session to resolve.
pursuant to the Panel's findings that Respondents violated the following statutes and rules: Discrimination-Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and New York State Human Rights Law, Executive Law 290 et seq.; Harassment and Hostile Work Environment-New York State Human Rights Law, Executive Law 290 et seq, New York City Administrative Code, Section 807; Citi's Code of Conduct; Retaliation-New York State Human Rights Law, Executive Law 290 et seq.; and New York State Labor Law, Section 215.
(e) At the conclusion of an arbitration, any arbitrator may refer to FINRA for investigation any matter or conduct that has come to the arbitrator's attention during and in connection with the arbitration, either from the record of the proceeding or from material or communications related to the arbitration, which the arbitrator has reason to believe may constitute a violation of the rules of FINRA, the federal securities laws, or other applicable rules or laws.
FINRA Rule 2010. Standards of Commercial Honor and Principles of TradeA member, in the conduct of its business, shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade.
FINRA's oversight of the broker-dealer industry is based on and limited by its statutory mandate and authority, which focus on investor protection and market integrity. Agencies such as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and its state and local counterparts are focused directly on discrimination issues in the workplace. Nevertheless, other regulatory organizations like FINRA have an opportunity to evaluate and understand whether their rules and regulatory actions have unintended disparate impacts on those within the industries they regulate.Many broker-dealer industry participants have developed initiatives and programs to foster greater diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity in the industry, as well as expand opportunities for historically underserved businesses and investors. FINRA supports these efforts and has been engaging with its advisory committees, industry associations and other industry members to explore how it can further facilitate those goals within the subset of the financial services industry regulated by FINRA-the broker-dealer industry. Additionally, FINRA has undertaken a number of initiatives, including:
- establishing an internal Racial Justice Task Force, whose efforts include identifying opportunities to encourage greater diversity and inclusion within the broker-dealer industry, with the goal of better engaging traditionally underinvested communities and representing the needs of all investors;
- hosting an Annual Diversity Summit since 2013, where FINRA provides a forum for diversity practitioners and business leaders in the broker-dealer industry to share ideas and effective practices to promote inclusion in the workplace;
- creating diversity-focused programming at the FINRA Annual Conference since 2010, where FINRA's CEO hosts top keynote speakers and industry panelists to discuss perspectives and insights on the importance of ensuring that diversity and inclusion remain a key commitment within firms in the broker-dealer industry;
- developing the Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam to expand who is eligible to take a qualification examination and to enable prospective broker-dealer industry professionals to demonstrate to potential employers a basic level of securities industry knowledge prior to a job application, including concepts fundamental to working in the industry (e.g., types of products and their risks); the structure of the securities industry markets, regulatory agencies and their functions; and prohibited practices. Individuals taking the SIE do not need to be associated with a FINRA member firm and a passing result on the SIE is valid for four years. This approach allows for more flexibility and career mobility within the broker-dealer industry. In promoting the SIE, FINRA has particularly emphasized outreach to historically Black colleges and universities and other minority-serving and diversity-focused organizations to expand the pool of candidates and registered persons; and
- proposing to implement the recommendations of the Securities Industry/Regulatory Council on Continuing Education regarding enhancements to the continuing education program for broker-dealer industry professionals. These enhancements include enabling individuals who terminate their registrations to maintain their qualification by completing continuing education, in order to allow individuals to better manage significant life events, such as professional changes and development (e.g., pursuing educational goals, a career change to a role in the firm that is not part of the broker-dealer, working overseas for an extended period due to a career change or an attempt at a different career path) or personal life events (e.g., birth or adoption of a child, unexpected loss in the family or relocation due to family needs).
The FINRA Board has expressed its support for FINRA's initiatives to promote greater diversity and inclusion and to better engage traditionally underinvested communities to serve the needs of all investors.FINRA staff's preliminary conversations with some industry participants have suggested the potential that aspects of FINRA's rules, operations and administrative processes may unintentionally impede diversity and inclusion (e.g., certain background data that must be provided by applicants for securities industry registration). FINRA requests comment to ensure that FINRA's rules, operations and administrative processes do not create unintended barriers to greater diversity and inclusion in the broker-dealer industry or have unintended disparate impacts on those within the industry.
FINRA'S BLACK HOLE / In 30 Years, Only 17 Women Won Sexual Harassment Claims Before Wall Street's Oversight Body (The Intercept by Susan Antilla / April 18, 2018)https://theintercept.com/2018/04/18/in-30-years-only-17-women-won-sexual-harassment-claims-before-wall-streets-oversight-body/The Dangers of Working While Black on Wall Street / Financial institutions say they're committed to racial justice, but complaints of racism often backfire against those who raise them. (The Nation by Susan Antilla / June 21, 2021)https://www.thenation.com/article/society/black-wall-street-finra/