- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Merrill Lynch & Co. yesterday over its treatment of an Iranian Muslim employee.

The worker, Majid Borumand, claims he was denied promotions and ultimately fired because of his ethnicity and faith.

Merrill Lynch spokesman Mark Herr said the company is innocent.

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

The EEOC said Mr. Borumand was hired in 2002 under an immigration program that allows U.S. firms to recruit talented foreigners; Mr. Borumand has a doctoral degree in theoretical physics and a master’s in mathematical finance.

While employed at the company, Mr. Borumand was subjected to “remarks that reflected animus toward his national origin and religion,” the EEOC said in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

The EEOC said that on one occasion, Mr. Borumand was told that “the reason you are not allowed on the trading floor is because you are from a country which has a high risk factor and a threat.”

The federal agency identified Mr. Borumand as an analyst in Merrill Lynch’s global markets and investment banking model development group.

But the company disputed that description, instead saying he was a senior programmer in a global equity technology group.

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