JPMorgan Chase Forced to Face Pay Discrimination Lawsuit
JPMorgan Chase & Co. is being forced to face a U.S. Labor Discrimination lawsuit alleging the banking company knowingly paid its female employees less than their male counterparts. The decision was made by a three-judge Administrative Review Board panel and released on October 5th. It marks the second time JPMorgan had attempted to dismiss such claims without success.
The popular banking institution is represented a team of attorneys at McGuireWoods. The appeals panel stated JPMorgan, which was sued by the Labor Department in January of this year, has not shown “exceptional circumstances” to allow for a dismissal. Therefore, the company will be forced to face off against the Labor Department and the case will return to an administrative judge for a final decision.
The Labor Department had indicated New York-based JPMorgan paid at least 93 women in four different job categories less than their male co-workers in similar positions over the last five years and the company violated an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from engaging in sex discrimination.
Tasha Pelio, spokesperson for JPMorgan, said in a statement following the initial filing, “We are disappointed that the (department) chose to file a complaint, but look forward to presenting our evidence to a neutral decision maker.”
“JPMorgan is required to comply with anti-discrimination laws that apply to federal contractors,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFFCP) Acting Director Thomas M. Dowd. “We filed this lawsuit to enforce those requirements.”
The Labor Department’s case seeks an injunction barring JPMorgan from discriminating against female employees as well as any lost pay and salary adjustments for those affected. If the judge decides against JPMorgan, this could lead to the termination of many current federal contracts and bar any future contracts with the institution.
Back in 2014, JPMorgan Chase paid almost $1.5 million to settle a sex-based harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). According to the lawsuit, the company maintained a hostile work environment toward its female bankers at its Polaris Park facility. The EEOC claimed female employees were forced to participate in a sexist atmosphere and if they didn’t comply they were kept from receiving vital sales calls and training opportunities. The $1.45 million award was ultimately split among 16 female mortgage bankers who worked at the facility.
After the 2014 decision, JPMorgan released the following statement: “We fully agree with the EEOC that harassment and discrimination have no place in the work environment. The alleged behavior dates back more than four years.”
“This case demonstrates the EEOC’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that women enjoy the same terms and conditions of employment as their male counterparts and that their success on the job cannot be conditioned on participating in a sexually hostile work environment,” said EEOC General Counsel David Lopez at the time.
Philadelphia Regional Attorney Debra M. Lawrence added, “We are pleased that JPMorgan Chase worked with us to craft a comprehensive settlement that will benefit its mortgage sales staff. In addition to the monetary compensation for the class members, the extensive training and equitable measures are designed to ensure the equality of the terms and conditions of employment and ensure the elimination of the discriminatory situation that resulted in this lawsuit.”
Evidently, the banking institution didn’t learn its lesson after the outcome of the 2014 case.