Press Release by The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
December 31, 2008
MERRILL LYNCH TO PAY $1.55 MILLION FOR JOB BIAS AGAINST IRANIAN MUSLIM FORMER EMPLOYEE
EEOC Settles Suit for Discrimination Based on Religion and National Origin
NEW YORK – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
today announced that Merrill Lynch, the international financial services firm,
has agreed to pay $1,550,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act on behalf of an Iranian Muslim former worker who was
fired due to his religion and national origin.
The EEOC’s lawsuit, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New
York (Case No. 07-CV-6017), alleged that Merrill Lynch refused to promote
and terminated Majid Borumand from a position as a quantitative analyst in
August 2005 because of his Iranian national origin and Muslim religion. Merrill
Lynch instead retained and promoted a less qualified individual, the EEOC
asserted in the lawsuit.
“Employers need to be vigilant in guarding against discrimination based on
religion or national origin, especially as our nation’s labor force becomes
increasingly more diverse,” said EEOC New York District Director Spencer H.
Lewis. “All individuals deserve the freedom to compete on a fair and level
playing field, which did not occur in this case.”
According to the consent decree settling the litigation, in addition to the
monetary relief for Borumand, Merrill Lynch will provide training to its
employees regarding discrimination based on religion and national origin. In
addition, the decree states that Merrill Lynch will not discriminate against
employees because of their national origin or religion, and will not retaliate
against employees who oppose discrimination. The decree also calls for
monitoring by the EEOC to ensure compliance.
EEOC Senior Trial Attorney Michael J. O’Brien said, “We are pleased with the
resolution of this case, not only in terms of the significant monetary benefits,
but also for the injunctive relief which will help foster a discrimination-free
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further
information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.