Charlotte-based Bank of America said a managing director who accused the bank of being a “bros club” and filed a gender-bias lawsuit only came up with the inflammatory term after meeting with her lawyers.
Megan Messina, 42, who’s been with Bank of America since 2007 and was made managing director in 2011, sued the company in May, saying she was paid substantially less than her male counterparts and that women were treated like second-class citizens.
It’s the latest such claim on Wall Street, where several major financial institutions have agreed to multimillion-dollar settlements in the past decade.
In an answer to the suit filed late Friday, the bank specifically denied the existence of a “bros club” at the company, saying the term was never used by her supervisor or other managers and was invented by Messina and her lawyers.
The bank said Messina, who lives in New York, didn’t raise her concerns when she met with a senior executive and a human resources representative and instead focused on dissatisfaction with her supervisor’s management style.
Despite the fact that the meetings were informal, the senior executive was sensitive to her concerns and sought input from the human resources department, according to the response. The bank also said it engaged with Messina and senior management on the next steps in responding to her criticism of her boss’ management style.
The lawsuit has also set traders on Wall Street buzzing because of a host of other practices alleged in the complaint – including front-running, lying to customers and manipulating bond prices. In the answer on Friday, Bank of America denied such practices.
The complaint describes practices similar to those at the center of a long-standing investigation of the bank by federal prosecutors in Charlotte.
For at least two years, prosecutors there have been investigating whether traders engaged in front-running, or trading ahead of client orders, according to a person familiar with the matter. Messina’s complaint, filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan, describes events far more recent.
The bank has declined to comment on the federal investigation.
Staff writer Rick Rothacker contributed.