It was an unusual victory, legal experts say: A former Morgan Stanley advisor won $150,000 in arbitration from his former firm for "emotional distress."

"It is difficult for employees to recover from the firm unless it is a truly outrageous situation," explains William Jacobson, director of the Securities Law Clinic at Cornell University. "For example, where the firm sets out not just to protect its own interests but to purposely damage the employee -- in those circumstances, where there is an indication of vindictiveness, employees tend to do much better."

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