Female Brokers Sue BofA for Discrimination
Men got higher retention bonuses, they allege
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Jun 25, 2009 3:36 PM CDT
The female brokers say Bank of America continued the gender bias that has long existed at Merrill Lynch.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

(Newser) – A former Merrill Lynch broker is leading a class-action lawsuit against Bank of America for offering female workers lower retention bonuses, Reuters reports. The suit alleges that Merrill had a longtime practice of steering wealthier clients to its male brokers. Because of that, when BofA acquired the firm and offered retention bonuses based on production, it put women at a disadvantage.

Jaime Goodman claims she was a top performer at Merrill for a decade but would have done even better—and thus gotten a higher bonus offer— absent discrimination. "Bank of America acquired a company that had a history of mistreatment," a plaintiff attorney said. "Rather than acknowledge that, and be part of the solution to level the playing field, Bank of America picked up where Merrill Lynch left off."