Bank Of America Sued For Race Discrimination

Jonathan Stempel, Reuters, May 18, 2007

Five black current and former employees of Bank of America Corp. (BAC.N) have sued the second-largest U.S. bank, accusing it of racial discrimination by steering lucrative clients to their white counterparts.

The 29-page complaint, filed Thursday with the U.S. District Court in Boston, contends that the bank discriminates against African-Americans in pay, promotions, training and support services.

It said the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank regularly teams African-American workers together and assigns them to largely minority neighborhoods and low net-worth clients.

When the workers complained, according to the lawsuit, the bank said it believed that clients are more “comfortable” dealing with bankers and brokers of their own race.

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Bank of America said it will defend against the lawsuit, and has a strong record of hiring and training workers. “We have been recognized for our success in creating and supporting a diverse and inclusive work place,” spokeswoman Shirley Norton said. “Our company does not tolerate discrimination.”

The lawsuit covers April 2003 to the present, and seeks class-action status. It seeks a halt to the alleged improper practices, back pay, and compensatory and punitive damages.

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