Gender Discrimination Claims in the Bank of America
Last Friday, Bank of America agreed to a settlement of an ongoing discrimination claim in the amount of $39 million based on gender discrimination. The claim was brought by 4,800 current and former female employees of the Bank of America’s brokerage division and brokers at Merrill Lynch. They claimed that the bank discriminated against women in both compensation and business opportunities, leading to the gender discrimination claims. The plaintiffs claimed they were systematically shut out of teams that worked on the most lucrative accounts and, as a result, their compensation suffered.
How Brokers are Formed and How They Share Accounts
In addition to a cash settlement, Merrill agreed to bring in an organizational psychologist to look at its policies, and, specifically, how teams of brokers are formed and how they share accounts.
It’s not the first time that Merrill has agreed to settle gender discrimination claims. Claims against the organization go back as far as the 1970s for gender-bias.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
In Ontario, claims of gender bias are usually brought before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The Tribunal has the ability to investigate claims of adverse and differential treatment on the basis of gender and it can award damages including wage loss recovery and “general damages” for mental distress and loss of the right to be free from discrimination in employment.