An attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is suing Morgan Stanley for discrimination, claims at least 100 women will ultimately participate in the suit.

The EEOC, which enforces anti-bias laws, claims Morgan Stanley discriminates against women when it comes to job promotions.

EEOC lawyer Elizabeth Grossman says the case is the agency's first major sex bias suit against a Wall Street securities firm.

The suit began when former bond seller Allison Schieffelin claimed she was unfairly denied a managing director post at Morgan Stanley.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Ellis said in a ruling that he will allow Morgan Stanley to develop its defense by contacting women who haven't agreed to join the suit. Ellis also said the firm must tell the women that it will not retaliate against them if they participate in the case.

Last March, the EEOC provided a list of 22 possible claimants in the class action suit, but was unable to turn over additional names because of missing records stemming from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, where its offices were. The judge also acknowledged that the EEOC was unable to provide more data because of ``obstructionist withholding of contact information by Morgan Stanley.''

A Morgan Stanley spokesperson was unavailable to comment on the case.