Merrill Lynch Settles Racial Discrimination Case for $160M

By Tara MacIsaac, Epoch Times
August 28, 2013 1:13 pm Last Updated: August 28, 2013 1:30 pm

Merrill Lynch settled a case with some 1,200 plaintiffs Wednesday that was sparked by the brokerage giant’s alleged pattern of discrimination leading to black employees having lower production than white brokers at the company.

Attorney Suzanne E. Bish confirmed the settlement Wednesday and noted it coincides with the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Linda D. Friedman, a Chicago lawyer who represents the brokers, told the New York Times about the terms of the settlement, though the brokerage firm would not confirm them.

A Merrill Lynch statement says it’s “not commenting on the existence” of a settlement.

The primary plaintiff, George McReynolds, filed the suit in 2005. He said Merrill Lynch directed blacks into clerical positions and white brokers more often got the lucrative accounts.

“We are working toward a very positive resolution of a lawsuit filed in 2005 and enhancing opportunities for African-American financial advisers,” Bill Halldin, a spokesman for Merrill Lynch, told the New York Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.