If you are a stockbroker are have been the victim of: Wrongful Termination; Discrimination (e.g., sex, race, color, harassment, national origin, religion, age, and disability); Harassment (e.g., Sexual Harassment, Hostile Work Environment); Retaliation; Denial of Leave (e.g. Family and Medical Leave Act); Americans with Disability Act claims; or Executive Pay Disputes, you should contact an experienced securities industry employment lawyer.

Once upon a time, registered employees of brokerage firms who believed they were discharged, passed over for promotion, or otherwise discriminated against by their firm due to age, race, color, religion, sex, or national origin were absolutely required to arbitrate their claims by virtue of their NASD n/k/a FINRA membership and signature to a Form U-4. In 1991, the Supreme Court decided the landmark case Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corp. and changed all that.

The decision caused FINRA to modify its industry employment arbitration rules several times. Brokerage firms now need special arbitration agreements with employees to compel arbitration of statutory discrimination and sexual harassment claims. Yet, many other employee disputes related to their discrimination claims must be arbitrated. 

The strategic decision about where, when, and how to file discrimination and related employment claims has become more complex. The decision requires counsel from an attorney well versed in wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment claims and FINRA arbitration rules, practices and procedures. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P. A. have over 40 years experience in helping brokers and financial advisors figure out whether they have solid wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment and where, when and how  to sue their employers. 

What Is Wrongful Termination?

Sometimes employees are let go for reasons that are unfair or illegal. This is termed wrongful termination, wrongful discharge, or wrongful dismissal. There are many scenarios that may be grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit, including:

  • Firing an employee out of retaliation
  • Discrimination
  • Firing a whistleblower
  • Firing an employee who will not do something illegal for their employer

If you believe you may have been fired without proper cause, we may be able to help you recover back pay, unpaid wages, and other forms of compensation.

What Are the Most Common Forms of Workplace Discrimination?

It is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age. However, some employers do just that, leading to a hostile and inequitable workplace where some workers are treated more favorably than others. Workplace discrimination can take many forms. Some examples include:

  • Refusing to hire someone on the basis of their skin color
  • Passing over a qualified female employee for a promotion in favor of a male employee with less experience
  • Not providing equal training opportunities for employees of different religious backgrounds
  • Imposing job eligibility criteria that deliberately screens out people with disabilities
  • Firing someone based on a protected category

What Are Some Examples of Workplace Harassment?

When workers are subjected to slurs, assaults, threats, ridicule, offensive jokes, unwelcome sexual advances, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, it can be considered workplace harassment. Similar to workplace discrimination, workplace harassment creates a hostile and abusive work environment. Examples of workplace harassment include:

  • Making unwelcome comments about a worker’s appearance or body
  • Telling a vulgar or sexual joke to a coworker
  • Using slurs or racial epithets
  • Making prejudicial statements about a worker’s sexual orientation
  • Making negative comments about an employee’s religious beliefs
  • Making prejudicial statements about an employee’s birthplace or family heritage
  • Making negative comments or jokes about the age of an employee over the age of 40
  • Workplace harassment can also take the form of quid pro quo harassment. This means that the harassment results in an intangible change in an employee’s employment status. For example, an employee may be forced to tolerate sexual harassment from a manager as a condition of their continued employment.

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The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) makes it unlawful for an employer to discharge, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate an employee because of that employee’s age when that employee’s 40 or older. 

The ADEA does not require an employer to provide “special treatment” for employees in the protected age group and can take whatever action it wants so long as it is not based on the employee’s age. The key for success on these claims is to show that the stockbroker was treated differently, specifically on the basis of age and not some other factor such as salary level, pension status, or seniority, which correlates with age. However, the employee’s age need not have been the only reason. The employee need only prove that his or her age played a part in its decision, a motivating factor in the employer’s decision or conduct.

Similarly, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits employment practices that discriminate against individuals because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title VII provides that it is unlawful for certain designated employers to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the individual’s compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It also prohibits an employer from limiting, segregating or classifying its employees, or applicants for employment, in any way that would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect the status of an employee because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Title VII applies to all brokerage firms with 15 or more employees providing the employees are not classified as bona fide independent contractors.

The burden of proving the brokerage firm intentionally treated the broker in a manner different from other employees on the basis of the prohibited factors such as age, race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and the invalidity of brokerage defenses requires the hiring of an attorney with knowledge of the securities industry and a trial lawyer with skill and experience in handling these claims. Attorney Pearce has all of the credentials and experience necessary to evaluate and prosecute your discrimination claims.

Hear From Our Clients

At The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., we believe the ultimate barometer of our success is surpassing the expectation of our clients.

The following clients have direct knowledge of our firm's processes from the inside and experienced our fierce advocacy.

Hear From Our Clients

  • “Robert Pearce is part of that unusual breed of lawyers that are able to create empathy with clients and thoroughly adopt their cause”

    No half efforts here. He and his group of professionals are outstanding strategists that can execute with precise fervor and unyielding determination. Theirs is a huge wave of facts, research, precedents and preparation, that has impressed me in its thoroughness and creativity, and most importantly with the results. No stone goes unturned and no effort is ever spared. In my book, he and they are those of a very rare kind that one wants to keep for a very long time.

    - Ramon Flores-Esteves -
  • “Just like the song from HAMILTON, it's so nice to have Bob Pearce on your side.”

    Just like the song from HAMILTON, it's so nice to have Bob Pearce on your side. He is the consumate plaintiff's lawyer: smart. dedicated, fully able to try a case but a great negotiator in a mediation. He did a wonderful job for us, fully supporting us through the process and more than holding his own against a large national law firm.

    - Maurice Z. -
  • "Mr. Pearce and his staff exceeded all of our expectations."

    Mr. Pearce and his staff exceeded all of our expectations. We were able to reach a settlement that was of our complete satisfaction, all within a very smooth, professional and efficient process. Mr. Pearce is now not only our lawyer but our family friend. We highly recommend him and his team!

    - Severiano L. -
  • "For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner."

    This law firm is the real deal. We were so lucky that they took our case as they have so much experience in securities and all the wrongdoing that happens in these investment companies where they mislead you and your money (as in our case) into schemes that are not what you think they are. Mr. Robert Pearce is one of the best lawyers around, a truly professional who will fight for you and will tell you as it is all the time. We could not have gone thru this experience if it was not for all the advice, guidance and support he and all of his staff and associates brought to the game. For the best fighting chance, Robert Pearce is the lawyer you want in your corner.

    - Astrid M. -
  • "He never felt intimidated and his study of the case and perseverance prevailed at all times."

    Attorney Robert Pearce was our lawyer in a case against a Brokerage Firm and I'm witness to his ability and intelligence to deal with lawyers from the most prominent law firm in New York which was the key to recovering much of our losses cheered by their negligence. He never felt intimidated and his study of the case and perseverance prevailed at all times.

    - Jose A. C. -
  • "In the end, Bob and I had the last laugh when the arbitrators awarded me almost 6 million dollars."

    No lawyer except Bob said I had a chance of winning. When UBS Lawyers laughingly offered me zero to settle the dispute, Bob became even more determined to prove everybody wrong. Bob was extremely prepared, and always a step ahead of the opposing attorneys throughout the arbitration. In the end, Bob and I had the last laugh when the arbitrators awarded me almost 6 million dollars.

    - J. Blanco -
  • "Every meeting and phone call was made with dedication and desire to help our family every step of the way."

    Robert's team is excellent. They are very competitive in what they do and they are very responsible. Every meeting and phone call was made with dedication and desire to help our family every step of the way. Their professionalism, responsibility and empathy assured us that we were in good hands. Recommend to everyone.

    - Mayra A. -


The Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. understands what is at stake in securities industry employment law matters and constantly strives to secure the most favorable possible result. For dedicated representation by a law firm with substantial experience in all kinds of securities investment industry employment disputes, Contact us online or by telephone toll free at 800-732-2889.