The New York Times reports that the agreement, filed Friday evening in a federal court in Brooklyn, was the second by the bank over 10 days. Last week, Merrill Lynch told a federal judge in Chicago that it would pay $160m to settle an eight-year-old racial discrimination suit filed on behalf of 700 black brokers.
With the new agreement, Merrill will have paid out nearly half a billion dollars to settle employee discrimination claims over the last 15 years.
The case settled on Friday was originally brought by women who had worked in the brokerage division of Bank of America, but it was amended to include women who were brokers at Merrill Lynch after the bank bought Merrill. The money is expected to be divided among as many as 4,800 current and former employees of the two brokerage operations.
Merrill, which has about 15,000 brokers worldwide, also agreed to change its policies to give women a better chance of succeeding. The firm will bring in an applied organizational psychologist to study some of its policies, particularly how teams of brokers are formed and how they share customers’ accounts, said Rachel Geman, a partner at Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and one of the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs.
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