Omeed Malik, who worked with hedge-fund clients in Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s prime brokerage division until he was investigated for alleged sexual misconduct and cut loose in January, has filed a defamation suit against the bank and is seeking an award of more than $100m, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority will arbitrate Malik’s complaint against BAML.
Malik was fired in the wake of complaints from female employees about unwanted advances, the Journal reported, but his attorney denied that his client engaged in any sexual harassment.
Malik’s attorney, John Singer, accused the bank of using “false and defamatory language” in public documents about the banker’s firing and “threatened the employment and livelihood of other employees they interviewed if they did not admit to inappropriate conduct on Mr. Malik’s part, which these employees courageously refused to do.”
Malik also accused BAML of concocting phony allegations against him because he was a whistleblower, claiming that his direct supervisor, managing director Martina Slowey, lacked the proper regulatory licenses to do business in the U.S., according to the New York Post.
Malik was fired from Bank of America on Jan. 9 – weeks before he was expected to receive his annual bonus – and he claims that he was ousted in revenge after Slowey caught wind of his complaints, the Post reported.
In his arbitration claim, Malik accuses executives at the bank of defamation, breach of contract, and discrimination against his Muslim background.
A Bank of America spokesman said his claims are without merit: “The bank stands by its decision to terminate Mr. Malik. His claims are without merit and we will defend ourselves in this matter. The bank had appropriate supervisory structures at all times.”
Finra will be the judge of that.
In addition, Malik’s lawyer said a civil suit against the bank could be filed in New York state court soon.
“The court complaint will be very detailed and very specific as to the white males at the managerial [sic] director level or higher who engaged in actual sexual harassment conduct, which is in sharp contrast to Omeed, who was never engaged in any such behavior,” Singer told the Post.
Separately, a Los Angeles transplant in his 20s who lives and works in Manhattan started an Instagram account in September that documents the “Midtown Uniform” popular among banker bros – a button-down Oxford shirt, dress slacks and, crucially, a vest.
The handle @midtownuniform holds finance guys and other similarly attired professionals responsible for and their alleged crimes against fashion such as their refusal to don sleeves, according to Business Insider.
“My girlfriend and I were having beers at El Rio Grande in Murray Hill and saw literally 10 dudes wearing the uniform,” the founder of the account told the New York Post.
He started snapping photos of unsuspecting junior bankers wearing the outfit captioned with humorous comments, building a base of 17,700 followers and counting.
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