June 26, 2007 / 4:08 PM / 10 years ago

EEOC sues Merrill over alleged discrimination

(Adds details, Merrill’s statement, byline)

By Paritosh Bansal

NEW YORK, June 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued Merrill Lynch MER.N over the alleged discrimination of a former employee because of his Iranian origin and Muslim faith, according to a court filing on Tuesday.

Merrill Lynch discriminated against Majid Borumand by failing to promote him and terminating him because of his national origin and faith, the commission alleged in its complaint, filed in the U.S. federal court in Manhattan.

Borumand, who was a quantitative analyst at Merrill, was subject to a number of remarks that reflected animosity toward his origin and faith, the complaint alleged.

Borumand was told “the reason that you are not allowed on the trading floor is because you are from a country which has a high risk factor and a threat,” according to the complaint.

A Merrill spokesman said the company disagreed with the complaint.

“We regret the EEOC believes there are grounds for its filing,” spokesman Mark Herr said. “We respectfully -- but strongly -- disagree with the EEOC and deny all of Mr. Borumand’s allegations.”

Borumand was hired by Merrill Lynch in early 2002 as a quantitative analyst in the company’s global markets and investment banking’s model development group, according to the complaint.

The commission asked the court to order Merrill Lynch to institute policies that provide equal employment opportunities for all employees. It also asked that Borumand be compensated for past and future losses as well as awarded damages.

((Reporting by Paritosh Bansal; Editing by Mark Porter; 212-393-9461; paritosh.bansal@reuters.com)) Keywords: MERRILL EEOC/IRANIAN

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