In January, Merrill Lynch began making offers to former female employees who are part of a class-action sex discrimination case the firm settled in September 1998.
Merrill spokesperson Bill Halldin confirms that monetary damages were offered to "approximately 240" women out of about 900 who filed claims under the terms of the settlement. The offers were targeted mostly to former employees who had been in producing roles for two years or less.
As of mid-February, about a third of the women had responded. Halldin declines to say if any of the claimants rejected the offers or what the offers were.
Mary Stowell, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys from Chicago-based Stowell & Friedman, says the amounts ranged from 20,000 dollars to 30,000 dollars.
Another round of offers was expected by late February or sometime in March.
If an offer is rejected, the settlement process requires mediation as the next step. Previously, Merrill stated that the information it had did not support the allegations in about a third of the 900 cases filed.