By Kim S. Nash  |  Posted 2006-08-02 Print this article Print

When encountering legal or regulatory action, technology managers who fail to get corporate data fast or vouch for its completeness can cost their companies millions of dollars. Learn what happened to WestLB, an investment bank, when it had to exhume 650,

Boys' Club'?">

A 'Boys' Club'?

Quinby had no problems with her boss, John Parker, when she first came to the bank, according to her complaint. Her job was to provide research and recommendations on European stocks to American investors. A report from Parker called her "an outstanding contributor" and "an integral part of our success."

But their relationship soured in 2001, after Parker was promoted from executive director to co-chief executive officer of the division. Quinby maintains she was a "high caliber" employee whom Parker mistreated. She charges that "WestLB took no discernible action to address the issues," according to her lawsuit. The bank, through Groman Darringer, declined to comment by phone and e-mail.

Parker left the bank in March 2005, according to court documents. He is not a defendant in the lawsuit and told Baseline he has "absolutely no comment" on the case.

Last February, however, in an affidavit, Parker disputed Quinby's charges. He said Quinby was terminated the first time, in June 2003, as part of a "head count reduction" and the second time, in April 2004, because of "performance problems," including "lack of progress with her assigned accounts."

WestLB's office was a "boys' club," Quinby's legal team says in court documents. Traders routinely looked at pornography on work computers, used foul language that demeaned women, and exchanged e-mails and Bloomberg instant messages that describe sexual acts in graphic and insulting terms. WestLB's lawyers replied, in documents, that "inappropriate language" had no connection to Quinby's termination. They say Parker used equally inappropriate language when he talked about men.

Parker said in his deposition that he reviewed samples of the bank's e-mails to make sure they conformed to NASD guidelines, which as a senior manager he was required to do. He said he talked to employees about improper computer use. He recounted how Quinby came into his office in 2001 to ask him to stop calling the traders "girlies" when they had done something wrong. He recalled apologizing to her even though, he noted, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also uses the term.

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Senior Writer
Kim has covered the business of technology for 14 years, doing investigative work and writing about legal issues in the industry, including Microsoft Corp.'s antitrust trial. She has won numerous awards and has a B.S. degree in journalism from Boston University.

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