EEOC Settles Sexual Harassment, Sex Discrimination Claim with Bank for $1.45 Million

J._P._Morgan_beating_a_photographer_with_his_stick.jpgThe Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces anti-discrimination laws in the workplace, announced in February that it reached a settlement in its sexual harassment and sex discrimination lawsuit against the financial company JPMorgan Chase (“JPMorgan”). EEOC v. JPMorgan Chase, No. 2:09-cv-00864, consent decree (S.D. Ohio, Jan. 31, 2014). The lawsuit alleged a pattern of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation directed at female employees of a facility in Ohio. The company agreed to pay $1.45 million to settle the lawsuit and to implement policy changes.

The court provided a summary of background of the case in two opinions dated December 10, 2010 and July 6, 2011. The original complainant began working for JPMorgan in April 2007 as a mortgage consultant at a location in Columbus, Ohio. This location was managed by a sales director, who supervised four sales managers. Each manager supervised around five sales consultants, and each sales consultant was responsible for about ten mortgage consultants. The complainant’s chain of command consisted of sales supervisor Terry Ritter, sales manager Ray Wile, and sales director Cynthia Ray. JPMorgan fired the complainant in May 2008. She filed two complaints with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission in June and August 2008.

In her first complaint, she alleged that Wile discriminated against her based on her sex by taking loan accounts away from her and giving them to male employees, resulting in her making less money in both regular pay and bonuses. Her second complaint alleged that Wile routinely harassed and berated her in the office, took her out of the “call queue” through which loans were assigned to mortgage consultants, and prevented her from complaining to the sales director. She further claimed that Wile falsely told the human resources director that she had resigned. The EEOC then took over the investigation.

Witnesses interviewed by the EEOC’s investigator generally corroborated the complainant’s allegations regarding a “sexualized work environment” and manipulation of the call queue by sales managers in favor of male employees. In some instances, witnesses claimed that the call queue was used to retaliate against female employees who did not go along with the sexualized atmosphere. The EEOC determined that JPMorgan had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It attempted to resolve the matter on behalf of the complainant and other similarly-situated employees. When that effort was not successful, it filed suit in federal court on September 29, 2009.

After a series of disputes over discovery and alleged spoliation of evidence, the parties entered into a consent decree, effective for two years, to settle the lawsuit in early 2014. This included an injunction against sex discrimination and retaliation for complaints regarding sex discrimination at the Columbus facility. JPMorgan agreed to pay $979,389 in compensatory and punitive damages and $470,611 in back wages, which the EEOC will distribute between the complainant and fifteen other female employees who worked at that facility.

The employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates represent the rights of workers in New York City and surrounding areas. We represent people who have experienced unlawful sexual harassment and discrimination, fighting to protect their rights at the municipal, state, and federal levels. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a knowledgeable advocate, please contact us today online or at (212) 248-7431.

More Blog Posts:

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Raises Question of Whether Defendant Was an “Employer” Under State and Federal Law, New York Employment Attorney Blog, January 28, 2014
Former Goldman Sachs Employees Allege Gender Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment in Manhattan Lawsuit, New York Employment Attorney Blog, October 23, 2013
Lawsuit Against Bank Alleges Gender and Pregnancy Discrimination in Violation of New York City and State Law, New York Employment Attorney Blog, April 23, 2013
Photo credit: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, digital ID cph 3a30204 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Contact Information