JPMorgan has agreed to pay $5 million to end a class action lawsuit alleging it discriminated against fathers by giving mothers more parental leave. The settlement is the first to resolve claims that an employer discriminated against fathers by giving them less parental leave benefits than mothers. and would resolve allegations that the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by applying its parental leave policy differently to men and women.
According to the lawsuit, JP Morgan had a policy that gave women as many as 16 weeks off as their children’s “primary caregivers” but only gave men up to two weeks off as “non-primary caregivers.” The lawsuit claimed that Derek Rotondo, who worked for JPMorgan since 2010, had approached the company in 2016 prior to the birth of his second child. Rotondo asked if he would be allowed the full 16 weeks off. He was told by human resources, “As per our policy, Birth Mothers are what we consider as Primary Caregivers.” The lawsuit challenged JPMorgan’s application of the policy, which allegedly presumed women were the former and men were the latter based on gender stereotypes. Under U.S. Supreme Court precedent on Title VII, it is unlawful to treat men and women differently based on gender stereotypes.
The $5,000,000 settlement will be split amongst roughly 5000 men who were unfairly treated due to JPMorgan’s policy. JPMorgan has also pledged to train HR representatives to apply it equally as part of the deal. JPMorgan associate general counsel Reid Broda said Thursday the company is pleased to have settled Rotondo’s suit and looks forward to “effectively communicating the policy so that all men and women employees are aware of their benefits.”