Merrill Lynch Discrimination Lawsuit Settled For $160 Million

The Merrill Lynch discrimination lawsuit has been settled for $160 million.

According to the Canadian Press, Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay $160 million to around 1200 plaintiffs. The settlement still needs to be approved by a federal judge in Chicago.

Maroc “Rocky” Howard, one of the plaintiffs, said that he was happy with the settlement although he wished that legal action was never needed in the first place.

Howard said: “Working in a fair environment, I would have made more money than this settlement is going to make me. But it is a positive thing.”

Merrill Lynch has not acknowledged the settlement yet but spokesman Bill Halldin said earlier this week: “We are working toward a very positive resolution of a lawsuit filed in 2005 and enhancing opportunities for African-American financial advisers.”

The discrimination lawsuit accused Merrill Lynch of directing its black brokers away from lucrative business. According to the lawsuit, this resulted in the company’s black employees earning 43% less than their white counterparts.

Merrill Lynch has defended itself over the years saying that it’s payment practices are fair and that it doesn’t discriminate against black employees.

One filing from the company reads: “All (financial advisers), regardless of race, are judged by the same metric. The rule is simple: produce more, earn more.”

Chicago-based attorney Suzanne E. Bish noted that the settlement doesn’t necessarily mean that Merrill Lynch has admitted any wrongdoing. Still, Bish said that the settlement will make a statement about equal opportunities in the workplace.

Bish said: “What (the plaintiffs) wanted to achieve was the same opportunities for the next generation — for their children.”