Sixty-one year old, African-American Director sues TIAA-CREF


Sixty-one year old, African-American Director sues TIAA-CREF:  Suit Highlights Racial and Age Discrimination, Harassment, and Wrongful Termination at 6th largest financial services firm* in United States

EL SEGUNDO, CA (October 23, 2014) — Curtis Monk, Jr., a 61 year old African American, filed suit this month in San Francisco Superior Court against Teachers Insurance And Annuity Association Of America (TIAA-CREF), one of the largest financial institutions in America, which traces its roots to Andrew Carnegie.   The suit accuses TIAA-CREF and its subsidiary TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB of wrongful termination, age discrimination, racial discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation.

According to the suit, the discrimination began after TIAA-CREF hired and promoted “former Bank of America employees ….to positions of authority” and these hires “created a culture…that devalued long term employees.”  The Complaint goes on to allege that shortly after new management was installed, Curtis received a “needs improvement” on his performance review – despite exceeding his yearly sales goals by 200% and 300%.  Curtis filed a complaint with TIAA-CREF’s HR department, which turned the complaint over to a line manager.  The following year Curtis again exceeded his annual goal by over 200%, and again received – a “needs improvement” on his performance evaluation.  He again reported his concerns, this time to TIAA-CREF’s CEO/President and VP of Human Resources, and nothing was done.  The Complaint also highlights a very unusual business arrangement whereby TIAA-CREF and the TIAA-CREF Trust Company, FSB “unilaterally designated Mr. Monk as an “Officer” of the Trust Company” despite the fact that he had no “actual responsibilities, duties or knowledge” as a purported Officer.

The following year, when he inexplicably received a written warning for alleged “poor year-to-date sales results,” Curtis refused to sign it, questioning why another employee who was Caucasian had not received a warning when her year-to-date sales were lower than his.  HR only told Curtis that his manager would “potentially require anger management training to control his temper and frustration”.  A few months later, TIAA-CREF terminated Curtis for alleged “performance deficiencies”.

“It is a simple, and unfortunately, a common story.  Curtis Monk ultimately lost his job because his new, younger, white supervisors decided he simply did not “fit the profile”.  His proper complaints to management were ignored, and he was terminated,” stated Chris Adishian, attorney at Adishian Law Group, P.C. and one of the lawyers representing Curtis.  “We look forward to shedding light on the facts of this case.”

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County Superior Court, seeks damages for lost wages, benefits and career opportunities, emotional distress, special damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs. Click here for a copy of the Complaint.

*Source: and TIAA-CREF website stating $844 billion of assets under management

About Adishian Law Group, P.C.

Adishian Law Group ( is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. As of June 2014, the firm has represented corporate and individual clients located across 20 California counties, 7 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries in over 380 legal matters. is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet.  The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For more information about press release, contact Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.955.0888 | 415.955.0888
Social Media: @algpc | LinkedIn | Facebook | YouTube


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