BoA Loses Effort to Get Discrimination Charges Tossed

A federal judge in Massachusetts has turned aside Bank of America’s efforts to dismiss some of the allegations in a suit accusing the financial services giant of discriminating against African-American bankers and brokers.

According to a Reuters news report, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts rejected the bank’s argument that some of the plaintiffs’ allegations made under Massachusetts law should be thrown out. The bank’s effort to move the case to a Georgia federal court, since most of the events and relevant documents and other evidence is in that state, was also rebuffed by Gertner, Reuters reported.

The lawsuit, filed in May, seeks class-action status and accuses Bank of America of regular discrimination via work assignments, training, and access to clients. The bank regularly “steered” African-American bankers and brokers to largely minority or low-net-worth clients and the bank believed clients were more “comfortable” dealing with people of their own race, the suit charged.

In an e-mailed statement to Reuters, Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton said, “There was no ruling on the motion. A procedural action was taken.” Norton also said the bank has a record of hiring and developing workers and does not tolerate discrimination. “We intend to vigorously defend against the claims in the lawsuit,” Norton added.