The lawsuit was filed in May 2015 by lead plaintiff Marcus Creighton, who was a MetLife employee in Illinois from 2001 to October 2014. Creighton alleged the company was in violation of federal civil rights law by discriminating against black brokers. Specifically, the suit alleged that MetLife provided very few opportunities for its African American financial services representatives to work with their non-black colleagues, that it restricted their training opportunities, and prevented them from getting good accounts.
The lawsuit states that MetLife is headed by a “nearly all-white” management team and maintains “a racially biased corporate culture and stereotypical views about the skills, abilities and potential of African-Americans that infect personnel decisions” and inform its policies.
According to the lawsuit, MetLife lets its financial services representatives form teams with colleagues and combine their client accounts, but “almost entirely exclude[s]” black financial services representatives from favorable teaming relationships. The complaint also alleged the company steers the most lucrative business opportunities away from black brokers and denies them equal access to its “Delivering the Promise” training program. This systematic discrimination leads the company to pay black financial services representatives less than their nonblack peers, the lawsuit alleged.
The settlement fund will pay $75,000 to Creighton and $50,000 to six other workers who joined the case as named plaintiffs in an amended complaint filed in April 2016.
The settlement deal covers all black, US-based financial services representatives employed by or affiliated with MetLife or New England Life Insurance Co. between May 15, 2011 and July 1, 2016.
The case is Creighton et al. v. MetLife Securities Inc., case number 1:15-cv-08321, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.