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For those who think that feminism is irrelevant, think again: Bank of America is Being Sued for Gender Bias on Bonuses

June 26, 2009

Yup, it’s true. Yesterday, Bank of America was accused in a Manhattan federal law suit of discriminating against female brokers at the former Merrill Lynch & Co. Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch on January 1st of this year. The complaint was brought on by Jaime Goodman who has been working at Merrill Lynch since 1992. Reuters reports that Goodman has been a top-quintile performer and a $1 million producer for nearly a decade but would have performed even better and gotten a higher retention bonus absent discrimination. How did Merrill discriminate? The report explains that:

Because bonuses were based on “production,” or fees earned on client assets, the bonus distribution authorized by Bank of America “disproportionately disadvantages women and advantages white men as favored employees,” the complaint said.

Retention bonuses are often awarded to brokers who work at companies being acquired to keep them from defecting, and for top producers can reach seven figures.

Apparently Bank of America knew that they were purchasing a company that has a history of maltreatment. A spokeswoman for Bank of America says that the bank will defend against the lawsuit.

This is sad news for women in the workplace. This is a sticky situation for Bank of America. If Bank of America knew of this mistreatment at Merrill, did they reinforce new policies (undoing past treatment of female brokers) to protect female brokers?

Readers, what are you thoughts about this—why do you think there is pay discrimination against women, particularly women in male-dominated industries? Putting aside laws that make gender discrimination in the workplace illegal, what can be done to change attitudes of employers in how they pay men and women?

Thanks to Anne H. for the link.

One Comment
  1. October 25, 2009 2:45 pm

    Very interesting. They are incompetent and sexist. I have a few posts on the topic, in case you are interested.

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