BofA Broker Files Gender Bias Complaint

A female broker accused Bank of America (BofA) of gender bias by offering female former Merrill Lynch brokers lower retention payments than their male counterparts.

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.