$3.5 Million in Damages Awarded to Former UBS Stockbroker in Sex Bias Case

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On Friday, April 13, 2007, a federal jury in New York City hit financial giant, UBS, with a verdict in excess of $3.5 million for discriminating on the basis of sex against one of its former female stockbrokers, Roberta C. Tse. Three million dollars of the verdict was for punitive damages.

A federal jury awarded over $3.5 million in damages on April 13, 2007 to a former stockbroker who filed suit in 2003 against UBS Financial Services Inc. for sex discrimination. Of that $3.5 million, $3 million represented punitive damages. The case is entitled Roberta C Tse v. UBS Financial Services, Inc., 03 Civ. 6234 (GEL).    

Roberta Tse, a former Financial Advisor at one of UBS's flagship branches in Manhattan, said she was gratified by the verdict and thankful to the jury for their diligence and efforts. The case was tried in federal court in the Southern District of New York.

Tse sued UBS after she was put on a Business Development Plan in 2002 and fired eight months later. While UBS put Tse on the Plan because of what it perceived was a "negative trend" in her business, Tse showed at trial that male Financial Advisors who also suffered reverses in their business, some for longer periods of time than Tse, were not put on Business Development Plans. The only male Financial Advisor put on a Business Plan was required to increase his assets under management at a monthly rate less than half of Tse's.

Tse's lawyer, John A. Beranbaum, argued at trial that the goals' required that UBS required of Tse under the Business Plan - increasing her assets invested with her by $1 million per month, in a down market -- were unrealistic and arbitrary. In fact, only 4 of the 42 Financial Advisors - the great majority of whom were men - had increased their assets under management at that rate the previous year.

The jury awarded Tse $3 million in punitive damages. Among the factors the jury considered in awarding punitive damages was that UBS lacked any standards governing under what circumstances a branch could put a Financial Advisor on a business plan, leaving the matter to the discretion of the branch manager. In the absence of impartial, non-discriminatory standards, Tse's attorney argued, the branch manager's unlawful biases were allowed to influence the decision to place Tse on the Business Plan.

UBS plans on filing post-trial motions to try to reverse or limit the verdict.

Further information can be obtained by contacting John A. Beranbaum at jberanbaum(at)bmbblaw.com; 212-509-1616.

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John Beranbaum
Beranbaum Menken Ben-Asher & Bierman LLP
212-509-1616
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