Former Bridgewater Associates’ co-chief executive officer Eileen Murray has filed an updated version of her complaint against the hedge fund firm, with fresh allegations of "brazen hypocrisy" at the $140 billion asset manager.
In late July, Murray filed a lawsuit against Bridgewater, alleging that the firm withheld her deferred compensation after she disclosed their ongoing gender discrimination, unequal pay, and breach of contract dispute to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Murray was recently tapped to become the chairperson of the regulatory organization, known as FINRA.
In an updated version of that earlier complaint, Murray accused Bridgewater of “publicly avowing transparency when it suits its interest, but seeking to harshly punish those who publicly report facts, which Bridgewater perceives to be damaging to its image.”
Murray’s legal team filed the amended complaint on Tuesday with the United States District Court of Connecticut, which clarifies the specific legal grounds for the lawsuit.
Murray is alleging that Bridgewater violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and the Connecticut Unfair Trading Practices Act. She is seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that says her public disclosures about her gender discrimination and breach of contract dispute with Bridgewater do not allow the firm to forfeit the deferred compensation.
She is also seeking injunctive relief from the court, with the goal of stopping Bridgewater from “threatening to cancel, forfeit or otherwise deprive” her deferred compensation benefits. Murray estimates that she is owed between $20 million and $100 million for deferred compensation benefits she earned in 11 years of working at the firm.
“We will continue to resolve this matter through the mutually agreed path rather than in the media,” a spokesperson for Bridgewater said via email on Wednesday.
According to her initial complaint, Murray told FINRA about the dispute. Once she also told Bridgewater about the disclosure, the firm allegedly responded by telling her that by doing so, she forfeited her deferred compensation from the firm.
Murray’s updated complaint also includes new claims against the firm. It alleges that Bridgewater defamed Murray by “making the false public statement that there is ‘no merit’” to Murray’s public disclosure of her dispute with Bridgewater.
Murray also alleges in the suit that Bridgewater is “improperly and falsely” using her photo on its website, claiming that Bridgewater is holding her out “as a public endorsement of the fair and inclusive treatment that employees receive at Bridgewater.”
Bridgewater’s website currently features a photo of Murray on its “diversity and inclusion” page, with the headline, “Eileen Murray on Why Leaders Need to Care about Diversity” and a link to a Yale Insights article Murray wrote in August 2019.
“The hypocrisy is astonishing,” the amended complaint said. A spokesperson for Murray declined to comment.
This is not the only legal battle Bridgewater is fighting. A private arbitration between the hedge fund giant and two founders of a small hedge fund startup, Tekmerion Capital Management, spilled into public view earlier in July. They are at odds over whether Bridgewater should have to pay the legal fees of the two former employees who founded Tekmerion.