Business & Money

Merrill Lynch settles record race bias claim

By PressTV | Last updated: Sep 9, 2013 - 8:32:13 AM

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Merrill Lynch, the world’s largest brokerage fi rm, has agreed to pay a $160 million settlement in a lawsuit accusing the Wall Street fi rm of racial discrimination against Blacks.

More than 1,200 current and former Black Merrill Lynch employees could be eligible to take part in the settlement, an attorney for the plaintiffs confi rmed on Aug. 28.

The plaintiffs claimed that discrimination was pervasive in Merrill Lynch, partly because the American company relatively employed few African-Americans.

In a 2009 fi ling, the plaintiffs contended that less than 2 percent of the brokers at Merrill Lynch, the wealth management division of Bank of America, were Black.

Lead plaintiff George McReynolds, a Black broker who has worked for Merrill Lynch for 30 years, sued his employer in 2005, accusing the fi rm of steering Black brokers away from the most lucrative business so they earned less than their White counterparts.

Mr. McReynolds said Merrill Lynch had a segregated workforce and had policies that steered Black brokers into clerical positions and reassigned their accounts to White workers.

Another plaintiff, Maroc Howard, said he wished he and his fellow Black brokers never had to resort to litigation. “Working in a fair environment, I would have made more money than this settlement is going to make me,” he said. “But it is a positive thing.”

The settlement coincided with the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, one of the largest political rallies for human rights in U.S. history which called for civil and economic rights for African Americans.

According to a new Gallup poll, many Black people in the United States are not satisfi ed with the way they are treated in the society.

Economic and social gaps between Whites and African-Americans have widened over the last few decades, according to a Pew study. (