The $2.2 million arbitration award this week to former Merrill Lynch stockbroker E. Hydie Sumner in a sex-discrimination action she and other former female employees brought against the firm in 1997 may be a victory for feminists. To me, however, it all sounds just plain weird. The women alleged a laundry list of complaints against Merrill that was so comprehensive that it stretched credulity in this day and age. The firm was supposed to have engaged in sexual harassment and failure to hire and promote and pay inequity and bias against minority-groups as well as women, etc., etc. Really? All of these things at the same time?

Plus, according to this New York Times report, the company dared to warn its employees that whining about your job isn’t a a good way to get ahead!:

“Ms. Sumner, who worked for Merrill in San Antonio from 1991 to 1997, contended that her supervisor, Stephen McAnally, harassed her and other women and minorities and retaliated against her when she complained to the firm about his behavior. Mr. McAnally responded to the women’s complaints by distributing around the office he managed copies of a magazine article titled ‘Stop Whining’ that warned ‘constant complaining can cost you your job,’ the decision said.”

I don’t know whether McAnally is really the villain that the Merrill Lynch activists paint him to be–but I can’t help thinking that, like Donald Trump on The Apprentice for 15 weeks, he might have just gotten sick of listening to the women complain while the men just got out and did the work.