One year of hell


by Shorts

I was an excellent employee of Edward Jones. I started on February 13, 2006, and began receiving recognition shortly thereafter for my success as a new Investment Representative/Financial Advisor. I received recognition from my trainer and a veteran Financial Advisor during my initial training. I received several awards during my second training session and again during my other training. I received multiple congratulatory communication wires for my hard work, and received 2 performance bonuses. I also was recognized as one of the top producers among my peers. I earned this recognition despite dealing with prejudice and hostility based on my Iranian heritage.

I began experiencing prejudice and hostility from my co-workers as early as April 2006, while receiving my initial training. Another trainee, made inappropriate comments about whether I was hiding a bomb in my bag, he eventually offered me a written apology for his admittedly offensive remarks. However, I endured other harassing remarks from him and his cronies, even after April 2006. They told other trainees that I was from Iran, and repeatedly referred to me as a "tribesmen," despite I had requested that they stop.

Things did not improve even after Edward Jones finally assigned me a branch office in August 2006. The office was located at in Cincinnati, Ohio. The secretary assigned to that office was an older white female who had worked for Edward Jones for approximately 2 years.

She began very quickly to make me very uncomfortable. In August 2006, she made comments about the many armed conflicts in the middle east, calling Muslims "animals." I am a Muslim. She asked me "why do you people fight each other?" In September 2006, she made offensive comments about one of my black clients (calling him "sue happy" like all blacks) and one of my gay clients (calling him a "fag" who is condemned by the Bible). Later in September, she made offensive comments about Hispanics, calling them "cockroaches." She repeatedly made comments about her desire to allow only English speakers to remain in the country.

I am an Iranian. I speak English with a pronounced accent. Each time she made comments about Muslims, people of color, non-English speakers and other minorities, I felt that her remarks were directed at me personally. I advised her that her remarks were offensive, that I didn't want to hear them, and that she needed to turn her attention to work. This friction resulted in a very uncomfortable workplace that adversely affected the terms and conditions of my employment. It also prompted her to be a less than loyal secretary for me. In fact, she diverted a good deal of business from my branch office to the branch office of her former supervisor.

One day in September of 2006, she finally made the comment that forced me to report her conduct to the Human Resources department. She repeated to me a comedy routine about the top 10 ways to get rid of Mexicans, and said that illegal immigrants should be chased out of the country with baseball bats. I talked to my mentor, who advised me to call H.R. I did telephone H.R. and spoke with a supervisor of the H.R. department for approximately 3 to 4 hours. Then they set up a personal meeting with me for sometime in October of 2006. The HR personnel met with me for several hours on that date. I described the harassment I endured from the secretary and the people during my training days plus the diversion of my customers and large amount of assets to the former secretary supervisor. The HR personnel promised to look into the matter, but they never advised me of either the progress or the results of their investigation.

However, I started to notice a back clash fro the home office. Every time something small would happen they would hold me responsible and would try to spell out Edward Jones policies that they had made up and did not even exist on documentation.

For example, one day one of the veteran Financial Advisors had called my branch and started using profanity and calling me all sorts of names. I stayed calm and tape recorded the conversation. His anger was because I had moved one of my best friend's account that was only worth in ~$3600 from his office. As I said this guy is a veteran advisor who makes 10 times more that I who had just started. When I informed the HR about that situation the HR turned the situation around against me and accused me of taping a co-worker and gave me a final written warming. They said it was against the Edward Jones policy for taping others. That policy is not to be found anywhere in Edward Jones employee hand book, but what was in that policy was name calling and harassment and that if someone is found to do so will receive suspension or termination. As you can imagine nothing happened to that Financial Advisor, he actual received recognition from our region for his hard work.

After I had received the final written warning I started to ask HR a few questions. I asked them what happened to the secretary's supervisor who had moved millions of dollars of assets from my branch; did he get a final written warning? I also asked them what happened to those trainees who had constantly harassed because of my national origin and religion. Of course I was ignored and never got a respond back from the HR.

Then sometimes in mid March of 2007 I receive a call from HR department asking me to fly to ST. Louis. At that time my wife was 8 months pregnant, and since we had lost our first child he was very precious to both of us. I asked the HR what was the reason for my flight to St. Luois they would not share that with me. So far almost a week my wife and I we went through hell. When I arrived there the first thing they tried to do was accusing me with gun and threats against Edward Jones. They said that in one of your calls to one of our associate you made threats with gun and said if I was in St. Louis something bad would happen. I stayed calm because I knew that this was another form of their pressure tactic to force me to resign. I denied the whole accusation and told them that was ridiculous and out of line. I told them that been from Iran and what I know now about the middle eastern back clashes there is no way I would say something like that to put my family and myself in jeopardy. Then I asked them when did that call took place they said early February of 2008. Then I said why you acted on it now which was end of March. I also asked them to put that into context or in a sentence and they couldn't respond. I vehemently denied the accusation. Nonetheless, Edward Jones advised that it was sending me to a management coach to change my approach towards others.

I suspect that this meeting never would have happened, and the referral to a management coach would not have been made, but for the fact that I is of Iranian descent. Certainly, Edward Jones did not send the secretary, the veteran Financial Advisor who cursed at me and the other to a management coach to alter their approaches towards others.

On May 22, 2007, the same HR personnel and a management consultant called me. They advised me that the management consultant was going to help me communicate better so that the home office and my clients would perceive me more favorably. I advised that my clients had no problem communicating with me. I asked who at the home office had problems communicating with him. The HR personnel ended the call, and then called me back. They accused me of being confrontational, and fired me.

After firing me they have also damaged my U5 from that is a broker's report card. What it means that anyone in this firm who would like to hire you will first look at that report card of yours. NASD tells me that I can't do anything except ask my employer to change it. I called my employer several times and they refuse to change it. They also have told me if I ever contact any of the client or talk to anyone about anything they will sue me. Finding a job as an advisor is very easy it is a sales job but because of that report card no one wants to hire me.

They have ruined our lives as I said I have 4 months old son and I can't get hired in this industry anymore despite all my hard work. They are not willing to return my personal belongings. They don't want to even pay me a severance package despite they are the ones who fired me and they have threatened me with a law suit if I speak out. That is why I have kept my name and personal information confidential.

At this point I don't know what to do or who ask for help. I am only praying to god and asking him to save and protect my family.


An Iranian


more from Shorts

Legal counsel

by Sasha on

I am sorry to hear what happened to you. I went through some problems when I was younger. Discrimination because I was younger (ageism), woman (sexism) and because I was Hispanic (racism). Unfortuntaley like I said I was younger and did nothing about it as I was raised to be passive in such situations.

I recommend that you seek  legal counsel. Only a lawyer can tell you if you have a case that will stand in court. If you do have a case then I would sue the company. Hopefully, you have sufficient documentation to prove your case. From the sound of it they exited you out of your office quickly before you could gather much information.

I hope that things do get better for you and your family.




recording coworkers may be illegal

by hmmmmmm (not verified) on

In Florida and other states, recording someone without their permission is illegal.

"Stealing" even a small account from a senior coworker is a reason for him to be upset with you. You should have talked to him and asked his permission. Recording him when you know he is upset and you have your finger on the tape is awful. It's manipulative. I'm not surprised that A G Edwards has a rule against it.


My freind,

by Midwesty on

New York's highest court has been asked to clarify just how much protection employer statements about terminated employees on NASD termination forms are entitled to. The NASD requires member firms to fill out a termination form ("Form U-5") whenever a registered employee is let go, explaining the reason for the termination. These forms are then available to any member firm upon request. Currently, New York law is unclear as to whether statements made in a Form U-5 deserve a qualified or an absolute privilege. If these forms are protected by an absolute privilege, then employers are immune from lawsuits based on claims by employees that statements in the form were defamatory. If, however, these forms are only entitled to a qualified privilege, if an employee can demonstrate that the defamatory statements were made with malice, the protection an employer had against suit dissolves.



Good Luck

Jeesh Daram

Documentation, documentation, documentation

by Jeesh Daram on

Too bad this happened. Did you accumulate solid documentation and witnesses? Do you have people who can stand up in court and verify what you went through? Do they have a tape recording of you making a threat?


All such thing will lead to a decision whether to go after them or not. The issue is who has better documentation.



Last year or two a lady made a great case against Merril Lynch for sexual discrimination and harrasment.


Good luck.


Sorry to hear about all

by Niki on

Sorry to hear about all that you have been through.

I can't believe that people are telling you that you should have ignored these comments. It was brave of you to do what you did, and if more Iranians spoke out against open bigotry in the workplace and elsewhere, people like your co-workers would not dare make the insensitive comments they made.


One year of Hell

by farokh2000 on

It is very unfortunate that things like this go on in this country but I agree that it happens to a lot of people.

There is no question that we are living in a racist society and lack of cuture contributes to a lot of these issues as well.

People in this country are easily brainwashed by the Government and depending on the time and their interest they target certain members of the society.

You do have to ignore a lot of it but at the same time no need to put up with this kind of garbage.

You could document these events and talk to a good Labor Lawyer.

Hopefully, they can help.


It's best to ignore comments like these...

by disgruntled employee... (not verified) on

These things will happen and you were just paranoid enough to ruin your relationship with your coworkers.

I'm sorry, but you have to get along in this world. Just ignore the crap and work. You seem very confrontational.


Everyone has problems not just Iranians ....


how about my boss who was

by Kia (not verified) on

how about my boss who was irani and gave my job to an jew to make his jewish boss happy. He then asked me to fix his computer and when i left his group he would tell prospective employes : Oh he does not know anything. One employer played me the tape and said we know he is a liar and he is well known.
The bastard had promised a job and when i got there the job was a lower rank job.
I helped himm move up the ladder, and finally he got the ax a few years later I left his team.
I hope the bastard will get cancert. he ruined my career I had built in the company.
Anyway he will be with Saddam in next world.
The two bastards are the worst people I have seen or heard of.