James Curry, a Harvard graduate, worked for the international merchant bankers Goldman Sachs & Co, from 1990 until January 1995, when he was made redundant on the grounds of "deteriorating performance".
But Mr Curry, a black American, claimed he was denied promotion and received wage cuts because of his colour.
Mr Curry, 43, of Cricklewood, north London, broke down as he told the Stratford Industrial Tribunal that his salary was cut from $1.25m to $400,000 in 1994.
After complaining about the $400,000, he was awarded an extra $100,000 but made redundant in January 1995.
Mr Curry, who formerly worked for the Chase Manhattan Bank, moved to London from the US in 1983 and joined Goldman Sachs in 1990. He became an executive director in the sixth income division and received glowing reports such as "a clean player of the absolutely highest calibre".
After being paid less than the usual commission rates, "I was concerned that my performance to work ratio was lower than my colleagues," he said. Mr Curry also said that he had worked hard to gain lucrative accounts but was moved off them.
A partner, Bruce Young, who was Mr Curry's direct manager, had made racial comments to him, he claimed. When he asked to take over another position, Mr Young told him that a colleague "talks and looks more like the people who would be coming from those areas."
The hearing was adjourned until today.Reuse content