Supreme Court rejects appeal over Merrill broker bias

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider an appeal by Bank of America Corp's Merrill Lynch unit of a ruling that allowed black brokers who accused it of bias to pursue their lawsuit as a class action.

Merrill contended that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago misinterpreted a 2011 Supreme Court decision, in a case known as Wal-Mart Stores Inc v. Dukes, that made it significantly harder to pursue class-action cases.

The lawsuit accused Merrill of steering blacks into clerical positions and diverting lucrative accounts to white brokers, resulting in lower pay and fewer career growth opportunities.

(Reporting By Jonathan Stempel in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)