Financial institution JPMorgan Chase & Co has entered into a settlement agreement in a class action lawsuit brought by a group of women who worked at a call center for their mortgage banking division. The women said that the work environment at the call center was hostile and sexist and that they were exposed to sexually charged behavior and inappropriate comments from supervisors. They also said that they were shunned socially and excluded from the opportunity to take potentially lucrative sales calls if they spoke out against the bad behavior or did not participate.
The suit was brought with help from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. An EEOC announcement of the settlement indicated that it is for a total sum of $1.45 million. The settlement in this case will be distributed among the 16 women who worked at that specific call center.
A spokesperson from the bank told reporters that the bank agrees that a work environment that discriminates and harasses female employees is not acceptable. On an organizational level, they are making efforts to create a system that fairly distributes sales calls so that all employees have an equal opportunity to earn similar commissions. These types of changes are an important part of discrimination and harassment settlements to ensure that the same thing does not continue happening at the same workplace.
Employees should know that sexually suggestive language and exclusion from work opportunities based on gender is not acceptable and that they have a right to demand a workplace free of that type of behavior.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “JPMorgan to pay $1.45M to settle sex-based harassment suit,” Feb. 4, 2014.