Merrill Lynch Discrimination Settlement, $160M, Largest Ever Racism Payout

A Merrill Lynch discrimination settlement totalled $160 million after claims of racial bias within the firm.

While the Merrill Lynch discrimination settlement is the largest ever for claims of internal racial discrimination, the amount is also pretty much chump change for the major bank.

Still, lawyers for hundreds of black bankers count the Merrill Lynch discrimination as a massive win, even if the 1,200 plaintiffs in total regret having to sue the brokerage firm at all.

One of the bankers named in the suit is Maroc “Rocky” Howard, a 55-year-old Merrill employee.

Howard is one who feels that while the Merrill Lynch discrimination settlement is progress, his share of the massive sum would be less than what he’d have earned in a racism-free workplace. He explains:

“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.”

Fellow Merrill broker Marshell Miller, 58, says that after an eight year court battle, he’s relieved to finally be done with it all:

“It’s been a long struggle… But it was something that needed to be done.”

Merrill Lynch only commented to address the news, not confirm it, saying in a statement:

“We’re not at this point commenting on the existence of the settlement nor the status of a settlement.”

According to plaintiffs in the Merrill Lynch discrimination suit, black brokers were not allowed the same opportunities to produce as their white co-workers, as they were often “steered away” from the bigger deals and larger opportunities. In 2006 alone, black brokers earned more than 40 percent less than their caucasian colleagues.