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The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered JPMorgan Chase Bank to rehire an illegally terminated employee and pay him more than $200,000 in back pay and damages.
OSHA's whistleblower investigation determined that the New York-based financial institution illegally fired the unnamed loan delivery operations manager at its Iselin, New Jersey, offices after he raised concerns between November 2013 and May 2014 to his supervisors about certain kinds of loans that were being made, the agency said Monday.
The agency's investigation found that the loan manager engaged in protected activity when he questioned failures to properly record loans both internally and with government regulators, and for refusing to override an upspecified compliance test and falsely report the test as passing, according to OSHA. The bank retaliated by removing his responsibilities, eliminating his position and in July 2014 fired him, OSHA said.
In addition to ordering JPMorgan to reinstate the employee, pay him more than $203,000 in back wages, compensatory damages and out-of-pocket medical expenses, the financial services firm must expunge his personnel record. JPMorgan also must post a notice for employees informing them of their whistleblower rights under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of these two laws and 20 others.
“These laws expressly protect employees' rights to raise reasonable concerns about what they believe to be potential violations without fear of retaliation by their employers,” Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York, said in a statement. “If employees are afraid to come forward for fear of punishment, financial wrongdoing could be masked, with consequences for employees, the employers and consumers.”
The company could not be immediately reached for comment.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered an Alaska aviation company to reinstate a pilot fired for reporting safety concerns and to pay back wages and damages that could total more than $500,000.