Originally created 03/14/97

Business Briefs



Suit accuses firm of racist firings

SAVANNAH - A lawsuit claims BellSouth's Savannah office targeted black women for layoffs while white women with less experience were allowed to remain during 1994 payroll cuts.

"We think that when the numbers come out, they're going to show that BellSouth got rid of a lot of black women with seniority and kept a lot of white women with less experience, based on a false (criterion)," said Thomas R. Taggart, a Savannah lawyer and former state representative who filed the suit.

BellSouth, which provides telephone service to 21 million customers in the Southeast, denied the charge.

"We know of no grounds for the filing of such a lawsuit," BellSouth District Manager Ken Cooper said.

The telephone company tries to hire a work force that matches the racial diversity of each region it serves, Mr. Cooper said. He could not provide figures but he said the company would likely gather the data in response to the suit, to be filed today in Superior Court.

Stock pricing method may change

WASHINGTON - Seeking to point U.S. stock markets toward the 21st century, House lawmakers unveiled a proposal Thursday to require dollars-and-cents pricing for shares. They said it would save investors money on trading costs.

The securities industry has resisted such a change. But lawmakers of both parties, backed by a key federal regulator, insist it's time to scrap the traditional system of quoting prices in one-eighth increments - which they say fills brokers' pockets at the expense of consumers.

The American Stock Exchange, meanwhile, approved a proposal to adopt minimum trading increments of one-sixteenth of a dollar (6.25 cents) for all its stocks, saying it would benefit investors.

Burger King gets new CEO

MIAMI - Burger King Corp., the nation's second-largest fast-food restaurant chain, named a new chief executive Thursday to try build on recent gains against competitors.

Dennis Malamatinas, who most recently has been president of Burger King parent Grand Metropolitan PLC's Asian liquor business, is taking over from Robert C. Lowes as chief executive of Burger King.

Mr. Lowes is leaving both Burger King and Grand Met, where he has held several finance and general management positions.