JPMorgan Chase Sued for Alleged Pay Bias Against Women

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By Jay-Anne B. Casuga

JPMorgan Chase & Co. discriminated against at least 93 female technology employees by paying them less than similarly employed male workers, according to a Labor Department complaint announced Jan. 18 ( OFCCP v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. , Dep’t of Labor A.L.J., docket number unavailable, announced 1/18/17 ).

The administrative action against JPMorgan by the DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs comes the same day the agency announced a compensation and hiring discrimination lawsuit against Oracle America Inc. (see related story). Both lawsuits were filed Jan. 17, just days before the end of the Obama administration.

Pay equity was a top enforcement initiative under the Obama administration. But allegations of pay bias against government contractors have been sparse in the few administrative complaints filed by the OFCCP each fiscal year. Of the nine such complaints filed by the OFCCP in the last fiscal year, for example, only one included pay bias claims.

Prior to its current lawsuits against JPMorgan and Oracle, the OFCCP sued Analogic Corp. in October for alleged pay bias against female workers.

OFCCP Seeks Ban on Federal Contracts

If an administrative judge or board rules against JPMorgan, and the company doesn’t provide the relief ordered, the OFCCP would request cancellation of the company’s federal contracts and ban it from future federal contracting, the DOL said.

JPMorgan has had contracts with about 24 federal agencies and has been paid more than $145 million under those contracts since 2012, a DOL spokesman told Bloomberg BNA.

The likelihood of a company losing its federal contracts is slim, though, according to a recent Bloomberg BNA analysis. Only six contracting bans stemming from OFCCP actions are currently active.

The OFCCP settled pay discrimination claims with LexisNexis Risk Solutions last week, and Ameriprise Financial Inc. in December. Those settlements, however, were reached before administrative action took place.

The agency reached pay bias settlements following administrative action with AstraZeneca LP and Medtronic Inc.

OFCCP Audited Functional Unit

In the present lawsuit, the OFCCP audited JPMorgan’s Investment Bank, Technology and Market Strategies functional unit, the DOL spokesman said. The majority of the OFCCP’s audits focus on specific contractor facilities. Functional audits, however, aren’t limited to a particular geographic area.

The compliance audit revealed a statistical compensation disparity between men and women in lead application developer, project manager and technology director positions since at least May 2012, the OFCCP alleged.

“This compensation disparity remained after adjusting for differences in legitimate compensation-determining factors,” the agency said.

The OFCCP seeks monetary relief, including lost pay, interest, salary adjustments and lost benefits, on behalf of the female workers.

JPMorgan ‘Disappointed’ by Suit

A JPMorgan spokeswoman told Bloomberg BNA that the company “tried to work with the OFCCP regarding this matter and resolve any concerns.”

“We are disappointed that the OFCCP chose to file a complaint but look forward to presenting our evidence to a neutral decision maker,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jay-Anne B. Casuga in Washington at jcasuga@bna.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Peggy Aulino at maulino@bna.com; Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com; Christopher Opfer at copfer@bna.com

For More Information

The complaint is available at http://src.bna.com/lvt .

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