Merrill Lynch settles racial discrimination suit for $160 million

This payout is the largest-ever by a U.S. employer in a racial bias suit

Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch unit has put a racial discrimination lawsuit against it to rest at last, for the price of $160 million.

It all began in 2005, when broker George McReynolds accused the then-independent brokerage of giving white brokers the most lucrative accounts, and denying black employees of equal pay and career advancement opportunities. He filed a lawsuit on behalf of 700 black brokers who worked for Merrill. The suit dragged on to the present, going through not one but two appeals at the Supreme Court, and lasting through Merrill Lynch's acquisition by Bank of America in 2009.

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