Posts Tagged ‘Bank of America’

Bank of American Settlement With DOL Closes Books on Quarter-Century Old Race Bias Case

It took almost a quarter century, but Bank of America has settled a legacy race bias case that the U.S. Labor Department filed against its predecessor NationsBank.

The U.S. Labor Department on Monday announced that Charlotte-based BOA has agreed to pay $1 million in back wages and interest to 1,027 applicants for North Carolina clerical, teller and administrative positions a generation ago.

The U.S. Labor Department alleged that NationsBank systematically discriminated against black applicants for entry-level jobs. The jobs were for North Carolina clerical, teller and administrative positions.

NationsBank merged with the Bank of America, N.A. in 1998.

African-American job seekers who applied for an entry-level position at NationsBank’s Charlotte facility in 1993 and were not hired are invited to visit the DOL’s website at http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/CML/index.htm, where they can also find information about this and other recent OFCCP settlements, or call 855-216-0427.

The banks are subject to nondiscrimination requirements enforced by DOL because they handle federally-insured deposits.

For more on the settlement, click here.

EEOC Recovers $12K for Deaf Bank Employee Who Was Denied Sign Language Interpreter

If only Bank of America had hired a sign language interpreter to communicate with a deaf employee, maybe it wouldn’t be down $12,000.

That’s what it is costing Bank of America N.A. to settle an Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on the employee’s behalf.

Instead of communicating with the 12-year deaf employee, who worked at a Bank of America vault location in Las Vegas, using a sign language interpreter, the employee’s managers and supervisors used other ineffective communication methods, such as writing notes, which were not understandable to him, the EEOC said.

Besides agreeing to pay the $12,000, Bank of America also agreed to injunctive relief to ensure a dedicated accommodations team properly engages in the interactive process and effectively provides reasonable accommodations to deaf employees.

Bank of America also agreed to train its accommodations team on the requirements of the ADA as it pertains to deaf employees. That training would address issues involving the specific communication needs of deaf employees on the job and that each deaf employee will have different communication abilities and methods available to them.

Read more from today’s announcement of the settlement.

Women to Collect $39M From Bank of America, Merrill Lynch in Settlement of Sex Bias Lawsuit

Thousands of women who worked as financial advisers or trainees for Bank of America or Merrill Lynch might want to raise their champagne glasses tonight to toast their good fortune in partaking of a large monetary settlement of their sex discrimination class action against those financial giants.

Last Friday U.S. District Court Judge Pamela Chen gave final approval to terms of a settlement that will oblige the companies to pay $39 million to resolve the womens’ claims. The plaintiffs alleged violations of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and state antidiscrimination laws in the companies’ pay practices.

A large chunk of the award–more than $12 million–will go to their attorney’s fees and costs. Still, it’s a substantial amount of money for the plaintiffs.

And speaking of pay, the minimum wage goes up in 13 states at the stroke of midnight. The largest increases will occur in New Jersey ($8.25 per hour); New York ($8); Connecticut ($8.70) and Rhode Island ($8).

The other states raising their minimum wages as of Jan. 1 are Washington ($9.32); Oregon ($9.10); Arizona ($7.90); Colorado ($8); Florida ($7.93); Missouri ($7.50); Montana ($7.90); Ohio ($7.95); and Vermont ($8.73).

Happy New Year everyone! Back blogging in 2014- tomorrow.

DOL: Bank of America Must Pay $2M for Discrimination Against Black Applicants

Nearly 20 years after the U.S. Department of Labor uncovered systemic hiring discrimination by the Bank of America, a DOL administrative law judge yesterday ordered monetary relief to the victims.

The judge ordered the bank to pay $2,181,593 in back wages and interest to 1,147  African American job applicants victimized by this discrimination.

According to the DOL, Bank of America unfairly closed job opportunities to African Americans applying for entry-level teller and administrative jobs at its Charlotte, North Carolina facility.

The ruling awards $964,033 to  1,034 applicants who were rejected for jobs in 1993 and $1,217,560 to 113  individuals who were rejected between 2002 and 2005,

In addition, when vacancies become available, Bank of America will have to extend job offers, with appropriate seniority, to 10 class members, the judge ruled.

Judge Linda Chapman issued her ruling under the authority of Executive Order 11246, which prohibits discrimination in employment by federal contractors. As a federally-insured financial institution that provides a variety of services and products, Bank of America is subject to the executive order, the DOL said.

Read more.

Bank of America Pays $39 Million to Settle Female Advisors’ Title VII Wage, Promotion Suit

In an outcome sure to stoke other claims of sex discrimination, Bank of America agreed last week to pay $39 million to settle a Title VII sex discrimination class action brought against it by a former female employees of its wholly owned subsidiary Merrill Lynch.

The lawsuit filed in March 2012 sought back pay and other remedies under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the New York Human Rights Act, and the Florida Civil Rights Act.

The plaintiffs alleged they were treated as second class citizens compared to the firm’s male financial advisors, who were given preference in promotions and other enviable assignments.

Employers should use this news to audit their pay and promotion practices to make sure they are not discriminatory toward women either intentionally or unintentionally through policies and practices that negatively impact women disproportionately.

No ERISA Violation in Bank of America’s Cash Balance Plan, Fourth Circuit Says

When Bank of America converted from a defined benefit to a cash balance plan,  employees David McCorkle and William Pender objected that DB participants wound up with less money because of the formula the company used to calculate their benefits.  They sued on behalf of a class of similar participants who they claimed suffered the same fate.

Not so, ruled the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. It held this week that the bank’s definition of a “normal retirement age”  in calculating lump sum distributions did not violate the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Under that definition, “normal retirement age” occurred either after five years of vesting service or upon turning age 65 if they left the plan before five years or joined the plan after age 60.

This definition was designed to avoid a phenomenon known as the whipsaw effect–“a potentially large disparity between the employee’s current hypothetical account balance and the  lump sum distribution that the employee would be entitled to receive.”

The Fourth Circuit said this definition complies with ERISA, noting that “IRS guidance has long recognized that a retirement plan may specify an NRA that is below age 65.”

The appeals panel also rejected the plaintiffs’ argument that the conversion amounted to an illegal “backloading” of benefits under the statute–basically that it works against older employees in the latter stages of their  career, and instead benefits younger workers.

You can read Pender v. Bank of America here.

This just in: This post has been listed on the Publishers’ ClearingHouse website! Hey, I’ll take publicity whereever I can find it. Check it out.

DOL Hits Bank of America With $930,000 Award in Whistleblowing Case

As if Bank of America didn’t have enough troubles, this week the U.S. Department of Labor sided with a former BOA employee who alleged he was fired because he blew the whistle on the company’s retaliation against employees who reported potential fraud involving Countrywide Financial, which merged with BOA in 2008.

DOL recited the facts this way:

“The employee  originally worked for Countrywide Financial Corp., which merged with Bank of  America in July 2008. The employee led internal investigations that revealed  widespread and pervasive wire, mail and bank fraud involving Countrywide  employees. The employee alleged that those who attempted to report fraud to Countrywide’s  Employee Relations Department suffered persistent retaliation. The  employee was fired shortly after the merger.

DOL ordered BOA to reinstate the employee and pay him $930,000. Read more here.