J.P. Morgan Chase has agreed to pay $1.45 million to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit that says the bank maintained a “sexually hostile work environment” toward its female mortgage bankers.
The lawsuit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, says female mortgage bankers assigned to the bank’s PolarisPark facility–located outside Columbus, Ohio–faced “sexually charged behavior and comments from the supervisory staff and participating mortgage bankers, which resulted in a sexist and uncivil atmosphere.”
The lawsuit also alleged that the female mortgage bankers who “didn’t 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.”
J.P. Morgan Chase spokeswoman Amy Bonitatibus said, “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.”
As part of the settlement, the nation’s largest bank by assets has agreed to develop a call data retention system so that assignments of sales calls can be accessed and analyzed to make sure they are more equally distributed among its mortgage bankers.
The EEOC said it filed the lawsuit in the U.S. district court for the Southern District of Ohio after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.
“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,” EEOC Philadelphia District Director Spencer H. Lewis Jr. said in prepared remarks.
The settlement amount will be shared among 16 female mortgage bankers who worked at J.P. Morgan’s call center in its Polaris Park facility.
A person familiar with the complaint said the female manager and three male employees associated with the citation are no longer with J.P. Morgan Chase.
J.P. Morgan’s settlement comes after Bank of America in September agreed to pay $39 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit brought on behalf of female financial advisers and licensed trainees at Merrill Lynch.