Female Mortgage Bankers in Columbus, Ohio Were Subjected to Sex-Based Harassment And Denied Lucrative Sales Opportunities, Federal Agency Charged
CLEVELAND - Financial giant JPMorgan Chase will pay $1,450,000 and revamp its call data retention procedures to settle a sex-based harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.
The EEOC charged in its lawsuit that JPMorgan Chase maintained a sexually hostile work environment towards its female mortgage bankers assigned to its Polaris Park facility, located outside Columbus, Ohio. This situation consisted of sexually charged behavior and comments from the supervisory staff and participating mortgage bankers, which resulted in a sexist and uncivil atmosphere. The EEOC further alleged that the female mortgage bankers who did not embrace and participate in these circumstances became ostracized and suffered economic consequences by being deprived of lucrative sales calls, being deprived of training opportunities, and being denied other benefits of employment.
Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Civil Action 2:09-cv-00864, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
"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.
EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis, Jr. said, "The EEOC is committed to combating unlawful sex discrimination in the workplace and will hold an employer responsible for fostering an inhospitable and uncomfortable atmosphere for women."
The $1,450,000 in monetary relief will be allocated among 16 female mortgage bankers who worked at JPMorgan Chase's call center in its Polaris Park facility. The consent decree resolving the case also enjoins JPMorgan Chase from creating or maintaining a sexually hostile work environment there in the future. Moreover, JPMorgan Chase is developing a call data retention system so that assignments of sales calls can be accessed and analyzed to ensure that they are being equitably distributed among the mortgage bankers.
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."
According to company information, New York-based JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion, operating in more than 60 countries, with more than 260,000 employees.
The EEOC's Philadelphia District Office oversees Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia and parts of New Jersey and Ohio.
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the agency is available at its website, www.eeoc.gov.