A Settlement That's Not Settled

The case study titled, "A Settlement That's Not Settled", outlined the story of Patricia Martens. Martens was the subject of gender harassment at Smith Barney brokers. She had been subjected to many "men only" type discriminations and was also held back from obtaining promotions. She filed suit against Solomon Smith Barney that resulted in a significant settlement for women across SSB. Or so that is the way the lawyers and SSB want it to be known as. The settlement established a DRP or dispute resolution process, in which all disputes by any employee, especially women would be taken seriously by the SSB. Sometimes, the resolutions included apologies from SSB employees and often times included a financial settlement. However, all the proceedings from the DRP have been held secret by SSB and the lawyers of the suit.

Martens, the original proprietor of the lawsuit, wanted to make a change in the organization rather than just opt out for a settlement. But unfortunately to this day, she has been fighting in court, and getting denied, for her rights as a woman who has been harassed. Martens has even now filed an ethics complaint against the judge who has denied her suit several times. It seems that as brave as it was for Martens to blow the whistle on SSB, she probably won't collect a dime in settlement money.

1. Why isn't the Smith Barney settlement settled?

It depends on who you ask, the people at SSB and the lawyers who originally represented Ms. Martens feel that an effective resolution plan has been implemented (DRP) and that those who wish to file claims have and have offered (some took) financial compensation. Many feel that the settlement has not been settled because in a shroud of secrecy the women who are upset with SSB have no ...
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