Former Employee Alleges Securities Fraud, Sexual Harassment Against JLL In LA
A former JLL employee in Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit against the company and two of its employees, alleging that she was ordered to violate securities law as a condition of continued employment, that she suffered sexual harassment by company clients and that the company ignored her complaints.
The plaintiff, Amanda Ly, worked at JLL from September to December as a distribution banker in the North American Global Funds Advisory Business in the company's LA office.
The suit, first reported by The Real Deal, alleges that Ly's supervisor, Jerry Cain, required her to solicit investments on behalf of JLL clients, even though she didn't have the requisite securities license. Cain is the managing director and head of Global Funds Advisory-Americas for JLL Capital Markets. He joined the company in August.
Specifically, the suit alleges that Cain told Ly that she had to pitch investors and raise money on behalf of Slate Asset Management for a real estate fund focused on acquiring German grocery businesses, and that he was under immense pressure to raise funds for Slate.
Ly further alleges in the suit that soon after she started working for JLL, she was required by Cain to come to New York to participate in a business dinner with him and representatives of "his most important client."
Cain allegedly told the representatives that Ly would be raising money on their behalf, but not that she didn't have a license to do so. After dinner, Cain allegedly instructed Ly to take the clients, two men, to a bar for drinks without Cain.
"At the Celon Cocktail Bar, the conversation changed dramatically," the suit alleges. "It became clear that these important clients did not perceive Amanda as a professional. Instead, they peppered Amanda with shockingly inappropriate questions about her sex life. ... Amanda tried to deflect these incredibly humiliating and embarrassing inquiries so as not to offend these 'important clients.'"
The suit alleges that Cain knew or should have known that the clients would treat Ly this way, because of his close relationship with the clients.
In a separate incident, the suit alleges, Cain instructed Ly to tell a potential investor that the Slate Fund was oversubscribed as a means of procuring an investment, which was a lie.
Around the end of October, according to the suit, Ly raised these matters with Matilde Attolico, Cain's superior. Ly alleges that Attolico dismissed her complaints and told her to "work around" Cain, and that Attolico defended Cain because of his history of raising money for clients.
In December, Ly says she went to a JLL HR official, Emma Mon. The suit alleges that Mon also brushed off the complaints. A short time afterward, according to Ly, JLL fired her.
Ly is suing for, among other things, wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation for complaining about illegal conduct and breach of contract. JLL, Cain and Attolico are named as defendants in the suit, which was filed on March 7 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
"JLL does not comment on existing litigation but we take such allegations very seriously," a representative of the company said in an email to Bisnow. "At JLL we are regularly recognized as an ethical company and follow a rigorous ethical code of conduct.
"JLL takes pride in its reputation for integrity and support of its employees. We plan to defend ourselves vigorously against these baseless and unfounded claims.”