$24M Settlement to End JPMorgan Discrimination Suit

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In recent news, JPMorgan Chase and Co. agreed to a settlement to end the discrimination lawsuit from black advisers. Members of the class action lawsuit who alleged discrimination, six current and former employees of the New York-based bank, will receive $19.5 million. The members claimed that because they were black they were sent to less lucrative JPMorgan branches, denied professional opportunities, kept out of a program reserved for richer clientele, and paid less than their white colleagues.

In court documents, the plaintiffs claimed that the racial disparities are a result of the company’s systemic, intentional race discrimination as well as from Chase policies and practices that, due to their disparate impact on African-Americans, are unlawful.

Plaintiffs in the case are: Jerome Senegal (from Texas), Erika Williams (from Illinois), Brent Griffin (from Wisconsin), Irvin Nash (from New York), Amanda Jason (from Kentucky), and Kellie Farrish (from California). As part of the settlement agreement, JPMorgan also agreed to put $4.5 million in a fund set aside to back recruitment, bias training, a full review of branch assignments in light of the case findings, and a coaching program reserved for JPMorgan’s black advisers.

JPMorgan has been hit with alleged discrimination before. Last year the bank was accused of willfully violating the U.S. Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act from 2006-2009 as well as a reckless disregard for the rights of a minimum of 53,000 minority borrowers. Other banks have been scrutinized for similar practices.

Last year, a black employee filed a complaint alleging that Goldman Sachs removed her from profitable accounts and overlooked her for promotions. Earlier this year Wells Fargo faced claims of cultivating gender-bias within the organization’s wealth-management operations.

If you need to discuss discrimination in the workplace or if you have other questions about labor law violations, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.

Class Action Suit Against DirecTV: Justices Will Need to Decide Whether Customer Agreements Require Court

April 22, 2015 - The Supreme Court took up a class-action lawsuit against DirecTV. The suit was brought in California and calls into question early termination fees for customers who end their service prior to the agreed upon period. In brief order, the justices stated that they would need to come to a decision regarding whether or not the customer agreements between the company and their customers require private arbitration or a group lawsuit/court proceedings. They are determining how best to obtain a resolution to the dispute.

Plaintiffs would prefer a group lawsuit as they feel that conducting private arbitration behind closed doors would leave them at a disadvantage. Plaintiff counsel claims private arbitration is stacked in favor of the companies while businesses claim the process is an effective means by which litigation costs can be controlled and customer disputes can be resolved more efficiently.

In a string of cases, the Supreme Court has held that Congress sought to encourage arbitration in passing the Federal Arbitration Act.

DirecTV’s customer contract contains a clause that a California state appeals court stated made the arbitration clause unenforceable, but the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco allowed that federal arbitration law enables DirecTV to move the dispute into arbitration.

The case will be heard in the fall of 2015.

For more information on the latest news on southern California class action lawsuits, visit Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik often. For answers to your questions regarding southern California law and filing a class action lawsuit, contact one of our experts today.