Client Associate Sues Edward Jones over Age Discrimination
A former client associate at Edward D. Jones has sued the firm for age discrimination, claiming she was harassed after reporting abusive remarks from the broker she was hired to support.
When Colombo complained to Jones’ human resources department, she was subjected to monthly performance reviews and warnings, according to the complaint she filed last week in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri.
Jones suspended Colombo in June 2018, three months after she filed her complaint. She resigned the same day she was suspended, almost five years after she started at Jones.
The advisor, Pamela Diemert, who started her own brokerage career in August 2016, is not named as a party in the lawsuit. She ended her registration with Jones in May 2019, and is now with registered investment advisor firm, Prosperity Capital Advisors, according to the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure records.
Diemert did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Edward Jones believes the allegations have no merit and will contest them, said spokesman Alex Reed.
“Edward Jones remains committed to ensuring that our firm continues to be a best place to work for all associates,” he wrote in an email.
Age discrimination has not been widely asserted in the securities industry, unlike gender and race discrimination, but plaintiffs’ lawyers said it is gaining more prominence given the aging of the brokerage force. A 72-year-old former Morgan Stanley broker in Los Angeles who took a junior role on his team after an illness filed a suit in April last year that is pending, according to court filings. A 69-year-old Wells Fargo Advisors broker who worked for 34 years at the firm and a predecessor in Albany, NY, filed an age and gender discrimination suit against Wells, claiming that her manager failed to allocate her accounts that went to younger colleagues. The case is now in mediation.
Colombo was not herself a registered rep, according to BrokerCheck, but so-called branch office administrators in the Edward Jones system play a crucial role in helping to run its offices.
The St. Louis-based firm raised the hackles of some of the administrators when it earlier said it would freeze their pay and no longer approve overtime hours as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business.