Two Pimco employees accuse asset manager of discrimination


Two female Pimco employees have filed a gender and racial discrimination lawsuit against the $2tn US asset manager, alleging that managers at the company deliberately created intolerable working conditions in an effort to force both women to leave.

Female professionals working for Newport Beach-based Pimco face “discrimination in pay and promotion, and suffer other unequal treatment in the terms and conditions of their employment based on sex, race and disability”, according to the lawsuit.

The firm’s male leadership prevents women from receiving “appropriate credit for their contributions”, the suit claims. “All the while, their predominantly white male colleagues reap the professional and financial profits that are generated by Pimco’s financial professionals who are women, women of colour and women suffering disability.”

Lisa Anthony, a manager on the administrative support team who has been employed at Pimco since 2007, alleged that following a series of absences due to ill health she was subjected to repeated humiliating verbal abuse by her line manager in front of other employees.

Ms Anthony alleged that her complaints to Pimco’s human resources department were passed back to her manager, who escalated the harassment and began false accusations about performance issues. Ms Anthony further alleged that she was denied a pay rise in 2018 after being wrongly demoted.

Sue Collazo, vice-president of alternative operations, who was hired by Pimco in 2011, alleged that she was subjected by her line manager to long confrontations in front of other employees. Communications by Ms Collazo about her manager’s behaviour to Pimco’s human resources department were ignored until male employees made similar complaints, the lawsuit said.

Ms Collazo also alleged that she was promised a $10,000 increase in her base salary in 2017 to bring her pay in line with male employees at the same level but this was later denied because of baseless complaints about her performance.

Ms Collazo was later forced to take leave of absence as her pre-existing medical conditions were exacerbated by stress.

Pimco strongly denied all the allegations.

“The claims in the filing have no merit, which Pimco will demonstrate in court,” said Mike Reid, a spokesperson at Pimco.

The lawsuit filed in Orange County on Wednesday follows two similar complaints over the past two years. In the prior cases, Stacy Schaus, an executive vice-president, and Andrea Martin Inokon, a senior in-house lawyer, accused Pimco of perpetuating gender discrimination by passing them over for promotions in favour of less-qualified men. The case brought by Ms Schaus was dismissed.

The case brought by Ms Inokon has not been concluded. Mr Reid said the allegations made in her lawsuit were “not accurate”.

Along with many of the world’s largest asset managers, Pimco has pledged to fight racial discrimination following the massive increase in support for Black Lives Matter campaigns which erupted after the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer last May.

The lawsuit brought by Ms Anthony and Ms Collazo also claimed that white men are over-represented at every level of Pimco’s management and leadership structure whereas women are consistently underpaid and underpromoted.

Pimco has never appointed an African-American as a managing director and only 20 per cent of these 77 senior roles are currently held by women, according to the lawsuit.



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Angry teenagers accuse village elders of ‘racism’


Angry teenagers accuse village elders of ‘racism’ after they refuse to let them put up BLM message in disused phone box

  • Teenagers in a Wiltshire village wanted to use a phone box as a BLM message
  • Phone boxes were used in the 20th century as a place to house telephones 
  • With the advent of mobile communications, the use of landlines has declined 
  • ‘Traditional’ phone boxes in many heritage locations have been re purposed  

A row has flared after teenagers demanded a Black Lives Matters message should be posted in a disused phone box.

Urchfont, near Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire has a population of around 1,000 people,  but it has become the setting of an international race row. 

Teenagers have accused ‘village elders’ of ‘racism’ after they prevented the youngsters from posting messages supporting the BLM movement. 

Urchfont Parish Council was asked by a group of young people, upset by the death of George Floyd in America, if they could use the box to create ‘a historical information point’.

Lisa Kinnaird, pictured, is standing beside a phone box in Urchfront Village Wiltshire

Local teenagers wanted to re-purpose the abandoned phone box as an information point about the Black Lives Matter movement

Local teenagers wanted to re-purpose the abandoned phone box as an information point about the Black Lives Matter movement

The local parish council voted against the proposal by five votes to three

The local parish council voted against the proposal by five votes to three 

The teenagers, who wanted to re-purpose the phonebox have been told the plan has been rejected by five votes to three. 

Emily Kinnaird told the meeting: ‘Me and my friends thought it would be beneficial if Urchfont showed its support for the Black community.

‘I think it is important to use education to raise awareness of racism especially in predominantly white Wiltshire.’

However, a majority of the local council claimed: ‘The telephone box should be used only for local community purposes, as such this proposal covering the wider issue of racism should be rejected.’

Parish council chairman Graham Day said: ‘The council discussed a proposal for a possible use of the High Street telephone box which is owned by the council.

‘A lengthy debate on this matter took place in our established virtual meeting format, with substantial public input both from those present at the meeting and others who had submitted comments to our clerk.

‘Urchfont Parish Council is a non-political body comprising 11 volunteer members. It represents the interests of all residents across the Parish.’

One member of the public, who joined the meeting via Zoom, said: ‘While not mentioned in the current proposal Black Lives Matter, a patently political movement is clearly the catalyst, a movement that is demonstrably contentious and of itself offers little, to enhance the lives of the Urchfont community.

‘Both the previous and current request/s clearly indicate that it serves the particular interests of a specific group and therefore, regardless of merit, does not meet the criteria of applying to the broader community.’ 

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Venezuela: UN investigators accuse authorities of crimes against humanity


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  • Venezuela crisis

image copyrightReuters

image captionInvestigators said violence was used to suppress the opposition

United Nations (UN) investigators say Venezuela’s government of has “committed egregious violations” amounting to crimes against humanity.

Cases of killings, torture, violence and disappearances were investigated in a fact-finding mission for the UN Human Rights Council.

The UN team said President Nicolás Maduro and other top officials were implicated.

Venezuela’s UN ambassador has described the mission as a “hostile initiative”.

Ambassador Jorge Valero said last year that the UN action was

part of a US-led campaign. The UN team was blocked from travelling into the country.

Venezuela is suffering a severe economic and political crisis. Millions have fled in recent years.

What did the UN team say?

In the report of its findings on Wednesday, the UN team said Venezuela’s security services had been engaged in a pattern of systematic violence since 2014, aimed at suppressing political opposition and generally terrorising the population.

Mr Maduro and the ministers of interior and defence were not only aware of the crimes, but gave orders, coordinated operations and supplied resources, the report said.

It called on Venezuela to hold those responsible to account and to prevent further violations from taking place.

“The Mission found reasonable grounds to believe that Venezuelan authorities and security forces have since 2014 planned and executed serious human rights violations, some of which – including arbitrary killings and the systematic use of torture – amount to crimes against humanity,” the mission’s chairperson, Marta Valiñas, said in a statement.

“Far from being isolated acts, these crimes were coordinated and committed pursuant to state policies, with the knowledge or direct support of commanding officers and senior government officials.”

image copyrightReuters
image captionUN investigators say President Nicolás Maduro and other top officials were implicated

A typical operation might involve weapons being planted in an area thought to be loyal to the opposition, with security services then entering the area and shooting people at point blank range, or detaining them, torturing them, and killing them.

The report also looked into the violent response to opposition protests and the torture of people detained at them.

Investigators made their conclusions after looking into 223 cases. They said almost 3,000 others corroborated “patterns of violations and crimes”.

The report will be presented to UN Human Rights Council member states next week, when Venezuela will have a chance to respond.

How significant are these findings?

Analysis by Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva

The UN team was not allowed to travel to Venezuela for this report. This is not unusual; Syria has never allowed the UN to investigate alleged war crimes on the ground. Myanmar, China, and many other countries regularly resist the UN’s presence. But this is the 21st Century, modern information technology means the evidence, indeed proof, of serious violations can be gathered without entering the actual crime scene.

And the evidence from Venezuela is detailed, and horrifying. Systematic killing, torture, and sexual violence. What’s more, clear evidence the orders came from the very top: Nicolas Maduro, his government, and senior security officials.

The UN investigators have a list of 45 names of those believed to have been directly involved. The UN Human Rights Council is designed to investigate violations, to advise on upholding human rights, but not to sanction. That is the job of the UN Security Council, and here Russia and China, who regularly oppose what they see as meddling in the affairs of a sovereign state, may oppose any action.

But that list of 45 names is significant; it suggests the UN investigators believe they may have a role to play building a case for a prosecution for crimes against humanity in an international tribunal.

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Greece and Turkey accuse each other of breaking maritime law – Channel 4 News


Fossil fuels might be going out of fashion, but a dispute over the right to drill for natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean has provoked fears that two NATO allies could come to blows.

Greece has welcomed the departure of a Turkish research ship from the area – but at the weekend, the Greeks announced that they were adding 15,000 troops to their armed forces.

“If you want peace, you must always be better prepared for war”, the Greek president explained.

She was speaking during a visit to a tiny Greek island just off the Turkish coast.

Our Foreign Affairs correspondent Jonathan Rugman was with her – and sent this report.



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