Bloomberg News

NEW YORK - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a lawsuit accusing Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. of discriminating against women, including a saleswoman who sold a million dollars of bonds a year before she was fired after suing the firm for bias.

The government agency, which enforces federal civil rights and employment discrimination laws, says Morgan Stanley paid its female employees less than men, denied them promotions, and shut them out of important firm social functions, such as golf outings and trips.

The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, alleges that the firm engaged in a pattern of bias against up to 100 current and former female employees in its Institutional Equity Division.

Elizabeth Grossman, an attorney for the EEOC, said it was the first major sex discrimination case brought by the agency against a Wall Street securities firm. Morgan Stanley's chief spokeswoman, Judy Hitchen, declined to comment.

The EEOC complaint said Morgan Stanley retaliated against a convertible-bond saleswoman, Allison Schieffelin, after she claimed in a lawsuit that she had been denied a promotion because of her gender. Ms. Schieffelin, 39, was fired in October.

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