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Merrill Lynch pays $160M to settle race discrimination lawsuit

Merrill Lynch is to pay $160 million in a settlement with African American stockbrokers. One African American stockbroker filed the initial lawsuit, claiming race discrimination. He alleged that Merrill Lynch gave better opportunities to Caucasian stockbrokers than to African American ones. The kind of discrimination claimed by the plaintiffs in this case is common both in Florida and in the rest of the United States.

The lawsuit made another interesting point, which was the fact that the discrimination was multiplied when stockbrokers who were more lucrative were awarded on their previous track record. While it may have appeared that more successful brokers were being awarded on performance, that performance would not have been possible without Merrill Lynch's discriminatory practice of giving better opportunities to white brokers, claimed the suit. At the time the lawsuit was filed, only one of 75 brokers at the firm were African American.

This settlement between Merrill Lynch and certain African American stockbrokers is the biggest discrimination settlement ever agreed to by an investment firm on Wall Street. Morgan Stanley entered into a similar agreement with Hispanic and African American brokers in 2008. However, Morgan Stanley's settlement was only for $16 million.

Florida workers who feel that they are not receiving a fair treatment at the office as a result of race discrimination may have the ability to file a discrimination lawsuit against their employer. Many employees are shy to bring up instances of discrimination for fear that they will be retaliated against, lose their job or be punished in some other way by their superiors. However, state and federal laws protect workers from such retaliation, and instances of retaliation may only serve to bolster and strengthen a discrimination case for monetary compensation.

Source: businessmanagementdaily.com, Merrill Lynch agrees to settle race bias suit for $160M, No author, Oct. 15, 2013

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