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Chase Settles Employee Discrimination Case

Sexual harassment alleged

Feb. 4, 2014

By Mortgage Daily staff

A group of female mortgage employees who worked for JPMorgan Chase & Co. will receive more than $1 million to resolve alleged discrimination.

The 16 women, who were employed at a mortgage call center outside Columbus, Ohio, worked in a sexually hostile environment, according to a federal lawsuit.

In addition to being subjected to sex-based harassment, the women were allegedly denied lucrative sales opportunities, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (Civil Action 2:09-cv-00864) only after the EEOC attempted to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

"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," and EEOC statement said. "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."

Chase has agreed to pay $1.45 million to be allocated among the 16 women.

In addition, the consent decree prohibits Chase from allowing a sexually hostile environment to exist at the facility. It also requires Chase to develop a call data retention system that equitably assigns sales calls among the mortgage bankers.

For its part, Chase acknowledges that such an environment for employees is wrong.

"We fully agree with the EEOC that harassment and discrimination have no place in the work environment," the New York-based company said in a written statement. "The alleged behavior dates back more than four years."

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