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Chase settles parental leave suit with employee fathers

New father with baby

JPMorgan Chase & Co., which now offers fathers full paid parental leave, has agreed to pay $5 million to settle litigation filed on behalf of fathers who claimed they were previously denied the opportunity to receive it.

The litigation was filed on behalf of male employees who alleged they were unlawfully denied access to paid parental live on the same terms as mothers from 2011 to 2017, according to a statement issued Thursday by the New York-based American Civil Liberties Union, the Cleveland-based ACLU of Ohio and San Francisco-based plaintiff law firm Outten & Golden LLP, who had represented plaintiffs in the case.

The statement claims the settlement is the first putative class action lawsuit to settle sex discrimination for a class of fathers who claim they were denied the opportunity to receive equal paid parental leave given to mothers.

According to the complaint in Derek Rotondo on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., which was filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati on Thursday, until it revised its policies in December 2017, Chase treated biological mothers as primary caregivers who were eligible for 16 week of paid parental leave and treated fathers as nonprimary caretakers who are eligible for two weeks of paid parental leave.

Chase has previously given mothers 12 weeks of paid parental leave and nonprimary caregivers one week. Under both versions of the policy, prior to December 2017 fathers could be treated as primary caregivers only if they were able to show their spouse or domestic partners had returned to work or were medically incapable of caring for the child.

Mr. Rotondo, an associate and investigator in global security and investigations who has worked for the company since 2010, was not permitted to take more than two weeks of parental leave because his wife had not returned to work before 16 weeks after the birth of his second child.

Thursday’s filing seeks court approval to certify a class of male Chase employees who were denied primary caregiver leave.

Chase granted Mr. Rotondo the full 16 weeks of caregiver leave In June 2017, shortly after Mr. Rotondo had filed a charge in the matter with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In December 2017 it “clarified its policy to ensure equal access to all those seeking to serve as the primary caregiver to their new child,” according to the statement.

JPMorgan associate general counsel Reid Broda said in the statement, “We thank Mr. Rotondo for bringing the matter to our attention.”

In July 2018, Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. said it would pay $1.1 million to resolve an EEOC lawsuit charging it discriminated against male employees by giving new fathers less paid leave to bond with a newborn or with a newly adopted or foster child than it provided new mothers. 



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