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Merrill ordered to reinstate ex-broker Sumner

LOS ANGELES, April 10 (Reuters) - An arbitration panel has ordered Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. MER.N to reinstate a former broker who successfully sued for sex discrimination, winning a $2.2 million award.

In a ruling dated Monday, the panel upheld a July 2004 decision calling for Merrill give the former broker, Hydie Sumner, a job at its San Antonio branch and admission to the company’s management assessment center.

Merrill had claimed it fulfilled its obligations to Sumner by offering her an associate director position in Oakland, California.

In the late 1990s, Merrill, one of the largest full-service U.S. brokerages, agreed to settle sexual discrimination claims by more than 900 female brokers, resulting in more than $100 million of payouts.

Sumner was one of a handful of plaintiffs to bring their claims under the settlement to arbitration.

The arbitration panel awarded the $2.2 million in April 2004 and in July 2005 ordered Sumner’s reinstatement.

((Reporting by Deena Beasley, editing by Andre Grenon; Reuters Messaging: deena.beasley@reuters.com@reuters.net; 1-213-955- 6746)) Keywords: MERRILLLYNCH BROKER/

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