Ex-JPMorgan Broker Claims Whistle-Blower Retaliation

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By Antoinette Gartrell

A former JP Morgan & Co. employee sued the company March 3 for allegedly firing him for blowing the whistle on potential Dodd-Frank Act violations to upper management ( Sayre v. JP Morgan Chase & Co. , S.D. Cal., No. 17-cv-0449, 3/3/17 ).

Bradley Sayre filed his complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California seeking compensation for the alleged wrongful termination, lost earnings, physical and mental pain, exemplary damages and attorneys’ fees.

The move comes two months before JPM is scheduled to go to trial on unrelated whistle-blower retaliation claims by a former wealth manager. That case previously was dismissed by the district court but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed and remanded.

Wrongful Termination

According to Sayre, a securities broker with a book of business worth $800,000, JPM told him to throw away notes in his files and destroy fraudulent JPM sales materials used in providing advice to customers. The company also allegedly instructed its brokers to leave certain sections of client forms blank.

During that same time, JPM was involved in negotiations with the Justice Department over fraudulent sales of collateral backed securities. After Sayre asked for written retention and destruction policies to back up the company’s request and didn’t receive them, he reported his concerns to management. In response, JPM fired him, the complaint said.

“It’s a really unfortunate case in which JP Morgan totally made up its reasoning for terminating Mr. Sayre’s employment,” Sayre’s attorney, Kevin Mirch of Mirch Law Office San Diego told Bloomberg BNA. JPM didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sayre isn’t the only former JPM employee to complain of retaliation. In January, a federal investigator for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration released a finding that the company wrongfully fired financial adviser Johnny Burris for publicly complaining that managers pressured him to sell the bank’s own investment products.

Additionally, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has been instructed to reconsider the case of Jennifer Sharkey, a former JPM wealth manager who alleged that the bank fired her in violation of Sarbanes-Oxley whistle-blower protections after she recommended that it investigate whether a wealthy client was involved in illegal activity. The trial in that case is slated to begin May 8.

To contact the reporter on this story: Antoinette Gartrell in Washington at agartrell@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Phyllis Diamond at pdiamond@bna.com; Seth Stern at sstern@bna.com

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