NU Online News Service, Nov. 14, 11:13 a.m. – The U.S. District Court in Atlanta will hold a fairness hearing 10 a.m. Jan. 10, 2002, on a settlement proposed for a class-action discrimination suit against Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States of America, New York.

The lead plaintiff in the case is James Brown. The class includes all African-American applicants who applied for financial professional positions at Equitable from May 16, 1987, to Oct. 23, 2001, and any African-Americans who were discouraged from applying for such positions, according to a settlement notice published by lawyers for the plaintiffs in The New York Times.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, “financial incentives have been established for the referral, recruitment and successful retention of qualified African-Americans into both entry level and more senior financial professional positions,” the settlement notice says. “Training, mentoring and recruitment programs have been reinforced. An internal complaint procedure has been established for Settlement Class members.”

Equitable applicants and would-be applicants who fit the class requirements can get more information about the proposed settlement, and forms for opting out of the proposed settlement, by visiting a class Web site, at http://www.equitableclass.com, or calling class lawyers at a toll-free number, 866-897-3121.

Potential class members who want to opt out of the proposed settlement, or object to the terms, must file the appropriate documents with the federal court by Dec. 10, according to the settlement notice.