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Raymond James Fires Employee Over Black Lives Matter Clash

Annie Massa

(Bloomberg) -- Raymond James Financial Inc. said it fired an employee after a video captured him and his wife in a confrontation with a man stenciling “Black Lives Matter” in chalk outside his own San Francisco home.

The video shows Robert Larkins, a managing director at Raymond James, with his wife Lisa Alexander, the chief executive officer of LaFace Skincare, confronting the resident and saying they will call the police. James Juanillo, who is Filipino, posted the video, saying, “A white couple call the police on me, a person of color, for stenciling a #BLM chalk message on my own front retaining wall.”

Larkins didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Raymond James has zero tolerance for racism and discrimination of any kind,” the company said in a post on Twitter. “After an investigation into the circumstances of a video alleging racism by one of our associates, we have concluded that the actions of he and his partner were inconsistent with our values, and the associate is no longer employed by Raymond James.”

The incident comes as companies take swifter action against employees expressing racial bias, even outside work settings. Franklin Resources Inc. fired an employee who called the police on an African-American bird watcher in New York’s Central Park, after he asked her to leash her dog to comply with park rules. Companies, including Boeing Co. and FedEx Corp., also recently suspended or fired workers as they faced increasing pressure to hold employees accountable for their behavior in the wake of a national outcry over racism.

“An inclusive workplace is fundamental to our culture, one in which people are free to bring their whole selves to their careers, and we expect our associates to conduct themselves appropriately inside and outside the workplace,” Raymond James said in its Twitter post. The company declined to comment beyond the statement on Twitter.

Larkins had held the role of western regional manager for the firm’s public finance practice. Raymond James is the 12th largest underwriter of state and local government debt, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The group has managed $6.3 billion across 241 bond sales so far in 2020, the data show.

(Updates with additional information on firm in last paragraph.)

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