Bessemer Trust is the target of a $12 million age and sex discrimination suit filed Wednesday in federal court in the District of Columbia.

Dee Anderson Payne, a 61-year-old assistant vice president in the private bank's Washington office, has alleged that Bessemer executives promoted younger workers over her, paid male workers doing similar work higher salaries, and retaliated against her for complaining to senior management, according to the suit.

Ms. Payne said she cooperated with the bank in an internal investigation. In July, Bessemer sued Ms. Payne in federal court in Maryland, asking a judge to declare her allegations to be without merit.

New York-based Bessemer manages $25.7 billion of assets, mostly for wealthy individuals. Ms. Payne's suit names the company and two individuals -- Thaddeus W. Shelly 3d, resident manager of the Washington office, and Bartholomew H. Sharp, director of human resources. She is asking for $2.5 million in compensation and $10 million in damages.

Richard Davis, general counsel for Bessemer, said that he had not seen Ms. Payne's suit, but the allegations "are without merit, and we intend to pursue vigorously our remedies in court."

Ms. Payne continues to work at the bank. -- Liz Moyer

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