Morgan Stanley fires strip club bankers

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Morgan Stanley has fired four employees for visiting a strip club with a client. The bankers, who cover the technology sector, went to the club during a three-day conference hosted by Morgan Stanley in Phoenix, Arizona, in November.

The firings yesterday raised eyebrows among bankers on Wall Street and in the City, for whom strip clubs are still a popular place to entertain clients.

While the visit to the club happened during their free time, Morgan Stanley has made the group redundant because they went with a client of the bank. Morgan Stanley has a long-standing rule that employees are prohibited from going to strip clubs if they are entertaining business partners.

The event is the latest public embarrassment in the field of gender relations for one of Wall Street's most blue-blooded firms. In July 2004, the bank paid $54m to settle a landmark class action lawsuit brought by Allison Schieffelin, a convertible bonds salesperson.

Ms Schieffelin claimed the bank discriminated against its female employees in awarding promotions and determining salaries, and said behaviour such as visits to strip clubs and giving women breast-shaped birthday cakes was rife.

As part of the 2004 settlement, Morgan Stanley agreed to have an outside monitor to ensure it complied with its promises to stamp out sexist behaviour. The bank has reported the Arizona incident to the monitor, Paul Shechtman, a lawyer at the firm Stillman & Friedman.

A Morgan Stanley spokesperson said: "We don't think it is appropriate to comment on personnel matters."