In 2014, years into Ms. Wesson's fruitless job search, Enrique Bellido, former director of construction management at Fidelity, sent her an email: "Karma is a bitch isn't it Erika?"
In response to Ms. Wesson's filings, Fidelity called much of her evidence little more than hearsay and also said it wasn't responsible for her former supervisors' comments because they no longer worked there. Fidelity, itself, it said, had never been asked for a reference. In 2011, the year Ms. Wesson left the company, her former unit spun off from Fidelity to become Long Wharf Capital, which declined to comment. Ms. Wesson's filings say Fidelity treats Long Wharf as an affiliate for tax purposes; Fidelity says no corporate relationship exists.
Around the same time Ms. Wesson was working at Fidelity, another woman seemed well on her way to the highest reaches of the mostly male world of money management.
Alicia Frank, who researched emerging markets stocks, was only in her 30s and earning as much as $650,000 a year. If all went well, she would become a portfolio manager, making her eligible for millions in annual pay.
But, in 2007, she became romantically involved with Bob von Rekowsky, who managed Fidelity's emerging markets fund, according to court records. Both were married. He told the human resources department about the relationship.
At first, Fidelity asked the two to keep their relationship "invisible," according to the company. Later, managers said the two had created "significant turmoil" because they had been spending so much time together that other analysts were complaining about favoritism.
The company then sought to enforce a policy prohibiting managers from dating subordinates. Ms. Frank said that Mr. von Rekowsky, though in a senior role — he was paid as much as $3 million a year, according to court records — was not her direct supervisor.
Fidelity said the couple were given the chance to decide who would transfer within the company or leave, but Ms. Frank maintains she was pressured to leave. The firm said it offered to give Ms. Frank a comparable job, and she had instead chosen to resign in 2009. Ms. Frank said the offer was a step down.
Ms. Frank also leveled an accusation at the supervisor asking her to move to another role: Eric Wetlaufer, the chief investment officer for the group overseeing funds that invest in international stocks and one of Fidelity's top money management executives.