J.P. Morgan Employee Claims Bank Discriminates Against Dads -- Update

By Lauren Weber Features Dow Jones Newswires

A J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. employee charged the bank with discrimination Thursday, saying it denies fathers paid parental leave on the same terms as mothers.

Continue Reading Below

J.P. Morgan offers fathers 16 weeks of paid leave after a child's birth if they will be the baby's primary caregiver during that time. Non-primary caregivers receive two weeks of paid parental leave. Biological mothers get 16 weeks.

Derek Rotondo, who works as a fraud investigator in the bank's office in Columbus, Ohio, filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission arguing that, by designating biological mothers as the default primary caregivers, J.P. Morgan's parental leave policy violates federal and state laws that prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on gender or gender-based stereotypes. He was joined in his charge by the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Ohio.

A J.P. Morgan spokeswoman said the bank is reviewing the charge.

J.P. Morgan last year expanded its parental leave policy to 16 weeks from 12 weeks for primary caregivers and to two weeks from one week for nonprimary caregivers.

The EEOC reviews all charges and can decide to initiate a lawsuit or settlement talks on the worker's behalf. In most instances, the EEOC declines to do that, but tells workers they have a right to file a private suit against their employer.

Continue Reading Below

According to the charge, Mr. Rotondo requested paternity leave before the birth of his second child earlier this month, and was told by the bank's human-resources representatives that, to be eligible for the paid time off, he would need to prove his wife had returned to work or was medically incapable of caring for the child. Mr. Rotondo's wife is a special-education teacher who is on summer break. According to the charge, J.P. Morgan employees must take the parental leave immediately after the birth of the child.

J.P. Morgan's parental leave policy reinforces "the stereotype that raising children is women's work, and that men's work is to be the breadwinner," said Galen Sherwin, an attorney with the ACLU's Women's Rights Project, said in a statement.

Only about 15% of U.S. employers offer some form of paid paternity leave, according to the 2016 National Study of Employers, a report from the Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.

Write to Lauren Weber at lauren.weber@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 15, 2017 12:09 ET (16:09 GMT)