Hydie Sumner is on the cusp of winning a battle many think she was crazy for waging.
Sumner, a former broker who successfully sued Merrill Lynch for sexual discrimination, has been trying for seven years to reacquire her job at the firm. Now an arbitration panel has ruled that she can return to Merrill.
“This is the most extensive and expensive interview process ever,” says Sumner, referring to the seven-year legal proceedings. Nonetheless, she is pleased with the outcome, which also ruled that Merrill still owed her $303,000 of the original $2.2 million awarded her in the April 2004 settlement of her suit.
Sumner, who testified to the lewd behavior and discriminatory actions of her then-branch manager and -colleagues, has amazed many, including her lawyers, with her unyielding determination to return to the firm that wronged her.
“I don't think anyone ever thought I'd get this ruling, but this was a business decision,” says Sumner. “Merrill Lynch is full of great people and it's still tops on the Street.”