With the outsized focus in the media recently on workplace sex discrimination issues – including both sexual harassment and gender pay equity – there may be a false impression that enforcement activity in other areas has waned. A recent multi-million dollar class action settlement serves as a reminder that discrimination claims across a broader range of protected classes continue to be litigated in the federal courts, and that the potential liability for a company can be substantial.
The settlement involves JPMorgan Chase Bank and a class of African American financial advisors, who claimed that the company maintained policies that discriminate on the basis of race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866. If approved by the trial court, the company will pay $24 million in monetary relief, as well as make equitable and programmatic changes – including the set-aside of up to $4.5 million – to establish and implement diversity programs aimed to improve recruitment, retention, and advancement of African American financial advisors.
Importantly, the settlement agreement contains a clause stating explicitly that the bank does not admit to any liability and makes clear that the settlement should not be construed in any way as a determination on the merits of the plaintiffs’ claims.
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.