700 Members of Class Action Lawsuit Will Share Nearly $30 Mil

Employer Will Pay 32 Million Dollars to Settle Racial Discrimination Case

MetLife Securities, Inc. received final court approval to settle a class-action race discrimination lawsuit for over $32 million. The news, reported by various media outlets, means that the nearly 700 class members will share $25.3 million. Lead plaintiff Marcus Creighton who filed the lawsuit in October 2015 will receive $75,000, with $50,000 going to each of another six plaintiffs who became named parties to the suit in 2016. The settlement, according to a National Law Review article published on July 5, 2017, covers “African-American or Black Financial Services Representatives who worked for MetLife or New England Life Insurance Co. between May 15, 2011, and July 1, 2016.”

Complaint Alleged Race Discrimination Against African American Employees

The initial complaint in the case filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York alleged that MetLife violated federal law by discriminating against black financial services representatives (FSRs) also called brokers. To read the entire complaint: https://www.unitedstatescourts.org/federal/nysd/448982/1-0.html

Marcus Creighton worked as an FSR from 2001 until 2014 when he claims MetLife unlawfully terminated his employment. Creighton alleged that for many of those years he was the only black FSR in his entire region which included seven states. Creighton brought his action under section 1981 of the US Civil Rights Act of 1866, as amended. This law prohibits discrimination and retaliation in all aspects of a contractual relationship. It applies to employment relationships formed and governed by a written contract as well as at-will relationships.

The complaint stated that “Defendants subjected Plaintiff and all others similarly situated to an ongoing nationwide pattern and practice of race discrimination and employed company-wide policies and practices that had a disparate impact on African Americans.”

Specifically, the complaint alleges that MetLife’s policies and practices:

  • disproportionately steer lucrative clients and business opportunities to non-African-American FSRs
  • disproportionately exclude black FSRs from participating in favorable teams and pools, resulting in the segregation of the workforce and significant racial disparities in earnings and attrition
  • regarding management assessment and assignments, harm African-Americans and segregate the workforce
  • regarding training, discriminate against African Americans and rely on factors that disproportionately harm African-American FSRs
  • regarding compensation, disadvantage black employees

Creighton asked the court to award money for lost wages and benefits, irreparable harm to his career, lost opportunities, and emotional distress. His complaint requested that class members receive appropriate compensation as well.

Class Members to Decide How to Formulate Recovery

Now that the court has given approval for the settlement, the remaining class members will have to see how much of the award they will recover. In this particular class action, the individual members will have a choice. Each can choose from a formula based calculation that will result in a faster monetary dispersal or an Individual Claims Resolution Process. The individual process allows a plaintiff to present his or her case to a “neutral evaluator” who will make a determination as to the amount of money the person shall receive. It gives the plaintiff an opportunity to present any particular circumstances that may get them a larger monetary award.

Contact Our Employment Discrimination Attorneys

Leeds Brown Law, P.C. provides counsel to employees in New York City and the surrounding counties who experience workplace discrimination and harassment. You can reach someone at our office at any time by calling 1-800-585-4658. Call Leeds Brown today for your free consultation with employment discrimination lawyers who can help you understand your rights to work free from sexual harassment, race discrimination and retaliation.

 

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