Sanctuary and Former Broker Settle Gender Discrimination Case
Sanctuary Wealth has reached a settlement in a sex discrimination and retaliation case brought by a 23-year veteran and former broker at its David A. Noyes predecessor, according to a court order.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in the order, which was issued September 23. The advisor, Elizabeth Correll, who is now with Raymond James Financial Services, and Sanctuary must file a motion to dismiss the case within 30 days of the order.
A spokesperson for Sanctuary declined to comment on the case citing policy on not discussing pending litigation. Correll and lawyers representing both sides did not return requests for comment for this story.
Correll filed her complaint in February 2020, seeking unspecified damages and naming as defendants Noyes, its former long-time executive, L.H. Bayley, Sanctuary Wealth Group and Sanctuary Advisors, the registered investment adviser. (The Noyes brokerage was dissolved and rebranded as part of a purchase in 2018 orchestrated in part by former Merrill manager James R. Dickson.)
Correll, who joined Noyes in 1998, alleged that the firm, which had largely white male leadership and fewer than 25% women advisors, forced her out after she complained about being paid a salary rather than the more lucrative commission-based payout earned by male brokers.
Correll also alleged that Bayley, after he became an octogenarian, reneged on a promise to sell her his book of business.
Bayley and Noyes instead negotiated to sell the book to “a white man with no prior experience” managing that book and terminated her in September 2018.
In a May 2020 response, the defendants denied all Correll’s substantive allegations. They argued that Correll was an at-will employee at Sanctuary Wealth and was terminated when her position was eliminated because of the sale of Bayley’s book of business.
“Any difference in the level of compensation that Correll received as compared to similarly-situated employees was based on a differential other than sex, namely that she requested and received compensation based on a salary instead of on commissions,” the defendants said in the answer.
Correll “negotiated her compensation as a salary to minimize fluctuations in her earnings based on sales or market performance and to limit risk,” according to the same answer.
The defendants also counterclaimed, alleging Correll, at Raymond James, had engaged in tortious interference with business relationships, misappropriation of Sanctuary’s trade secrets, and defamed it, among other claims.
Noyes had faced a similar claim from a former broker in 2012 when Dana Hurst, a former female senior vice president and 26-year Noyes veteran, sued the firm, similarly claiming, as Correll did, that she was paid a salary, while her male peers were paid on a more remunerative contingency basis, according to Correll’s complaint.
Hurst and Noyes agreed in 2014 to a stipulated dismissal with prejudice, meaning she could not pursue the same claims. No terms or specific settlement were identified in the case’s court documents.