Merrill Lynch Ordered To Pay $160 Million To Black Brokers In Lawsuit Settlement
700 African-American brokers who filed a racial bias lawsuit against Wall Street brokerage firm giant Merrill Lynch after learning that many of their clients were likely to prefer to deal only with white brokers, among other racially biased things, are among the estimated 1,200 minorities who will be awarded $160 million in settlement funds.
via NY Times
Merrill Lynch, one of the biggest brokerage firms on Wall Street, has agreed to pay $160 million to settle a racial bias lawsuit that wound through the federal courts for eight years, including two appeals to the United States Supreme Court.
When the suit was first filed in 2005, only about one of every 75 brokers at Merrill was black and most of them were considered poor producers. The lead plaintiff, George McReynolds, contended that black brokers received little help from their managers early on and were often ostracized by co-workers. The unequal treatment compounded their disadvantages year after year, he contended.
Among the many twists in the case was the admission in a deposition by Merrill’s first black chief executive, E. Stanley O’Neal, that black brokers might have a harder time because most of the firm’s prospective clients were white and might not trust their wealth to brokers who were not.
The payout in the suit, which was filed on behalf of 700 black brokers who worked for Merrill, would be the largest sum ever distributed to plaintiffs in a racial discrimination suit against an American employer.
From the sounds of things, these brokers were given some much deserved justice. Good for them.