Reuters reported that plaintiff Jamie Goodman, who said she worked as a Merrill broker for 16 years before its January BofA merger, accused the bank of implementing a retention bonus system that “disproportionately disadvantages women and advantages white men as favored employees.” (See “BoA, Merrill Retention Package Rewards Top Producers.”) The suit seeks certification as a class action.
Goodman alleged that because Merrill had typically steered wealthier clients to male brokers, the male brokers were able to generate more asset-based fees and, as a result, receive higher bonuses that were based on “production.”
According to the complaint, Goodman was a top-quintile performer at Merrill, having been “a $1 million producer for nearly a decade,” but would have fared even better and gotten a higher retention bonus absent discrimination.
The case is Goodman vs. Merrill Lynch & Co., U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan), No. 09-5841.