Bank of America Corp. (BAC) has been sued for alleged discrimination against African-American bankers and brokers, court papers show.

The complaint, filed Thursday at the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, accuses the second-largest U.S. bank of regularly discriminating with respect to work assignments, training and access to clients.

The plaintiffs, who seek class-action status, said Bank of America had disproportionately "steered" African-Americans bankers and brokers to largely minority or low-net-worth clients.

They said that when they complained, the bank said it believed that "clients are more 'comfortable' dealing with sales professionals of their own race," according to the complaint.

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America and a lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The plaintiffs are seeking a halt to the alleged improper practices, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.