Monday, January 09, 2006

Who's Stripping Who?

So, Morgan Stanley has made the bold move of firing four lower level male employees (an equity research analyst and three institutional equity sales staffers) for visiting a strip club in their off-time while at a company conference in Arizona. Read all about it in Wall Street Folly.

The ramifications are fierce. Wall Street is quivering in its gold-plated boots. Where will brokers go to do business? Golf courses are a whole helicopter jaunt away and it takes hours of chipping away at that little ball before any real deals get struck. A restaurant? Or, god forbid, the office? Strip club owners are positively apoplectic. Without the Wall Street crowd, 90% of them are sure to go under in six months or less. First the Disneyfication of Times Square and then this? It’s just not right.

But women? Hmmm…Way to go Morgan Stanley. Way to put yourself out there and make a stand for equality in the workplace. None of that “this is just for show” stuff. We look after our women. We give them how much maternity leave? We have how many women on our board of directors and management committee? We give how much back to women-oriented charities? Ahem, cough, cough. Excuse us. Doesn’t someone have a merger they want us to discuss?

Those high level women who sued you for gender discrimination, with the backing of the EEOC, didn’t do it just because they wanted you guys to stop going to strip clubs. They did it because they worked in an old boy biz where they were denied raises and promotions they’d earned just as surely as Mr. Heavy Breather next door. And out of that $54 million settlement you agreed to in 2004, I don’t recall the judge earmarking a single cent for strip club visit reduction.

Taking steps to de-emphasize the crude and lewd that’s typically been part of Wall Street culture isn’t by any means a bad thing. But it seems to me that focusing on one faux pas by four horny little analysts is for the most part beside the point. Unless – oh, you clever, clever Morgan Stanley boys (and at the tippity top, the board of directors, it’s all still boys but one) – such distraction was the point.

Interesting strategy.
But I don’t think the girls are going to fall for it.


Anonymous said...

You are so spot on. These big wall street firms do and say all the right things. I bet MS will go out and hire a minority woman pay her a boatload of money to be a figure head in charge of diversity but nothing will really change. You are right about the maternity leave, they all have these generous policies or flex time schedules but is there any real digging into how many women take advanatge of them? How many women have applied for flex time and been granted it? I bet, based on my experience, the esults would be interesting.

Frank said...

Hey, I'm a guy and read your book. I hope to take a lot from it that I can apply to all my interactions with human beings in general. I'm on page 60 and so far it's all good stuff with little fluff. Oh yeah, you look very cute in your picture, but I'm sure you get that a lot. Great job on the book, so far I'm impressed with everything you've written.

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