JPMorgan Must Continue to Defend Against DOL Pay Bias Claims

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By Jay-Anne B. Casuga

JPMorgan Chase & Co. must continue to defend against Labor Department claims that the company discriminated against female technology employees by paying them less than men.

An audit of JPMorgan’s Investment Bank, Technology and Market Strategies functional unit 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 DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs alleged in a January administrative complaint. The disparity remained even after accounting for “legitimate compensation-determining factors,” the agency said.

JPMorgan sought dismissal of the claims, but an administrative law judge denied the company’s motion. It asked the DOL’s Administrative Review Board to review that denial. But the board declined to hear the case at this time in a ruling recently published to its website ( OFCCP v. JPMorgan Chase & Co. , Dep’t of Labor A.R.B., No. 17-063, petition for interlocutory review denied 10/5/17 ).

The board generally reviews only final decisions, and the company didn’t show “exceptional circumstances” to warrant review of the ALJ’s non-final decision denying dismissal. The case now returns to the ALJ for further proceedings.

Top Priority

Pay equity was one of the OFCCP’s top enforcement priorities under the Obama administration, and that focus will continue during the Trump administration. The agency reached a $5 million pay discrimination settlement with State Street Corp. earlier this month. It also settled pay bias claims with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Qualcomm, LabCorp, B&H Foto & Electronics Corp., and Land O’Lakes earlier this year.

A DOL spokesman Oct. 18 declined to comment on the ruling, which “speaks for itself.” A JPMorgan spokeswoman also declined to comment.

Administrative Appeals Judges Tanya L. Goldman, Joanne Royce, and Leonard J. Howie III joined in the ARB ruling.

DOL attorneys Nicholas C. Geale, Jeffrey Rogoff, Anna Laura Bennett, and Alexander M. Kondo in Washington represent the OFCCP. William E. Doyle, Bruce M. Steen, and Elena D. Marcuss of McGuireWoods in Raleigh, N.C., Charlotte, N.C., and Baltimore represent JPMorgan.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Terence Hyland at thyland@bna.com

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The opinion is available at http://src.bna.com/tsD.

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