Smith Barney's Woman Problem

A class action alleges bias against female employees

Shortly after Pamela K. Martens began work as a stockbroker trainee at Shearson/American Express Co. in 1985, she got a taste of things to come. One day she went into the office of her branch manager, Nicholas Cuneo, to ask a question. Cuneo casually opened his desk drawer, took out a gun, and laid it down in front of him. As she hurriedly left his office, Martens concluded that Cuneo was sending her a message, loud and clear: I'm someone to fear. When Martens complained to another manager, he downplayed the incident, saying, "Oh, Nick just does that to intimidate the trainees."

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