September 12, 2007 / 10:19 PM / 12 years ago

Former muni bond head sues UBS for discrimination

NEW YORK, Sept 12 (Reuters) - The former head of the U.S. municipal bond department at UBS Securities on Wednesday sued the investment bank for age discrimination, claiming he was improperly maneuvered out of his job.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District court in Manhattan, William Jester, 60, alleged that UBS UBSN.VX lowered his performance ratings and bonus level and pushed him out in favor of younger employees.

A UBS spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Jester, who served as head of PaineWebber Inc’s Municipal Bond Department prior to its 2000 acquisition by UBS, claimed that he was given little option but to retire in March 2007, though he had not intended to retire until age 65.

In the suit, Jester claimed that in January 2006, just after his unit was moved into the investment banking division, UBS executives replaced him with a younger executive and never gave him a promised “chief operating officer” title.

Later in October 2006, when it was announced that his replacement was leaving UBS, Jester claims he expressed interest in returning to his position as head of the department, but that was never explored. Instead, UBS hired executives in their mid-30s to run parts of the municipal bond group that he previously ran, the suit claimed.

In December 2006, Jester was told that there was no “significant position” for him in the department going forward and was given the opportunity to retire, find another position within the company or accept a severance package, according to the lawsuit.

UBS did not seek to create a new position for him, the suit said.

The suit also claimed that in 2005 Jester’s supervisor lowered his performance review rating, without informing him of any performance deficiencies “so as to justify a pre-determined decision to lower his bonus level.”

Jester contended younger colleagues were paid multiples of what he earned in his best year at UBS.

According to the suit, Jester’s compensation peaked in 2003 when he was paid a base salary of $150,000, and received a $1 million cash bonus, plus stock options.

Jester is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for “emotional pain and mental anguish,” back pay, and payment of his legal costs, the suit said.

Reporting by Emily Chasan

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