7th Circ. Tosses Merrill Lynch Bias Suit Over Bonus Plan

Law360, New York (September 11, 2012, 7:53 PM EDT) -- The Seventh Circuit on Tuesday affirmed the dismissal of a proposed class action alleging Bank of America Corp. paid black financial advisers at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. smaller bonuses than their white colleagues after the companies merged.

The appeals panel said Bank of America's retention bonus system — which paid Merrill advisers according to previous levels of production — was a legally protected, production-based compensation program under Title VII, meaning the employees had to show that it was intentionally designed to be discriminatory.

While the...
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