NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the law firms of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, LLP and Outten & Golden LLP announced a $39 million settlement with Bank of America Corp., Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. on behalf of women employed in the United States, Puerto Rico, or Guam as Financial Advisors or licensed Financial Advisor trainees at Banc of America Investments Services, Inc. or Merrill Lynch from August 2, 2007 (and earlier for certain employees) through September 15, 2013. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants discriminated against women in compensation and business opportunities.
The parties entered into a three-year settlement agreement that is subject to Court approval. The settlement includes programmatic relief -- to be overseen by an Independent Monitor -- regarding teaming and partnership agreements, business generation, account distributions, manager evaluations, promotions, training, and complaint processing and procedures, among other things. Further, an Independent Consultant will conduct an internal study of the bank’s FA teaming practices. The settlement also establishes a significant monetary fund of $39 million to resolve the Class’ and Named Plaintiffs’ claims.
“Female Financial Advisors at Merrill Lynch have straightforward goals: to work hard for their clients, to flourish professionally and succeed financially, and to compete on a level playing field. The monetary and programmatic relief this settlement provides furthers these important goals of fairness and opportunity,” said Rachel Geman, a partner at Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP, Co-Lead Class Counsel.
Co-Lead Class Counsel Cara E. Greene, a partner at Outten & Golden LLP, stated, “This settlement helps ensure that Merrill Lynch is a place where women can thrive and be successful. Hopefully others will follow Merrill Lynch’s example.”
Lieutenant Julie Moss (U.S. Navy), one of the named plaintiffs in this lawsuit, stated, “The settlement will advance our efforts to foster diversity and professional success within the workforce. Equality in the workplace should take on the same meaning as it does in our everyday life. Every individual deserves to be treated fairly. It is my hope that this settlement produces substantial benefits to the class.”
The settlement was the result of intensive negotiations supervised by experienced neutral mediator David A. Rotman of San Francisco, CA.
The parties expect to present the settlement for consideration of final approval in mid- December, 2013.