Articles Tagged with Diversity

In the years following George Floyd’s death, many companies have introduced internal efforts to increase their diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) initiatives to protect those who have historically been disadvantaged. However, it is important that these companies are honest about their efforts, but in at least one case, it has been alleged a brokerage firm was repeatedly not honest.

Wells Fargo is at the center of Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) related lawsuits deriving from allegedly conducting fake job interviews to diverse applicants, in efforts to comply with their “Diverse Slating Policy.” On their second attempt at suing Wells Fargo, shareholders commenced a lawsuit alleging that both Wells Fargo and members of their board misrepresented the firm’s DEI initiatives and deprived job opportunities from members of underrepresented groups, groups the initiatives were meant to help. As the  “S” in “ESG” stands for “social,” the topic of DEI falls underneath that umbrella. Many companies that establish policies to “enhance” diversity in the workplace fail to implement and/or report such practices, resulting in substantial scrutiny from both investors and the SEC.

“Well-intentioned people created these initiatives, but when they hit the ground, the energy was devoted not to implementing them but finding a way to get around them,” according to Linda Friedman, a lawyer who settled a class-action suit on behalf of 320 black financial advisors for $36 million in 2017 after the advisors sued the company for allegedly positioning them to work in poor neighborhoods while seemingly affording white financial advisors to newer clients and better opportunities. Following this lawsuit, along with the overwhelming impact of George Floyd’s death in 2020, many companies, including Wells Fargo, issued a “diverse slate” policy, otherwise known as a diverse search requirement. Specifically, Wells Fargo’s policy allegedly asserted that at least 50% of the prospective job candidates who are interviewed must represent a disadvantaged group or some kind of diversity component (including race/ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ, veterans, and people with disabilities) for most posted positions in the U.S. with compensation greater than $100,000 per year. See Complaint filed 6/28/22.  Although this may seem like a step in the right direction, it is quite the contrary because over the following years, it is alleged that the policy caused confusion throughout the firm and resulted in negatively impacting the people these initiatives were intended to help.

On Thursday, November 9, 2023, New York City securities lawyer Jenice L. Malecki, Esq., will be part of a live panel at the 20th Annual Small Law Firm Symposium organized by the New York City Bar Association. The program will feature panels discussing some of the most pressing topics affecting small law firms today, including how to grow your firm by acquisition, how to manage your firm with freelance lawyers, the evolving dialogue around diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, cyber threats, Chat GPT and the use of artificial intelligence tools in practice, effective communications and positive outcomes, and how to create the legal practice and a life you love.

At the event, Ms. Malecki is scheduled to speak on 1:20 p.m. at the panel, titled “Looking Through the Lens of a Small Law Firm/Solo Practice: The Evolving Dialogue Around Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.”  She will be speaking along with Gerard M. Anthony from Anthony Law Group PLLC, Nydia Shahjahan from Nydia Shahjahan Esq. P.C., and Stacey M. Cameron from S.M. Cameron Law and Mediation, PLLC. Ms. Malecki will draw on her experience as the founder of one of the few woman-led Manhattan-based securities law firms and her nearly thirty-five years of securities industry practice at a time when women are still struggling with pay discrepancies and disparities within the financial services industry. If you have suffered investment losses at the hands of your stockbroker or investment advisor, it could be beneficial to consult an experienced securities law attorney, like the ones at Malecki Law.

Ms. Malecki takes pride in sharing her experiences as the founder of a successful, boutique securities law firm and regularly presents as a panelist at major industry events across the country.  In fact, in October 2023, Ms. Malecki had the opportunity to participate in panels related to discovery issues and ethics issues at the Public Investors Advocate Bar Association (PIABA) Annual Meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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