December 3, 2022

A financial adviser at JPMorgan Chase is suing the banking giant, alleging that executives violated federal employment laws by discriminating against her because she’s a woman.

Lawyers for Gwendolyn Campbell, 53, said in a lawsuit that JPMorgan is creating a difficult working environment, accusing management of allowing male financial advisers at the company to “steal” her clients, excluding her from key meetings and “belittling” Campbell in front of colleagues.  

Campbell’s lawyers, Douglas Wigdor and Michael Willemin of Wigdor LLP,  filed the complaint last week with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). JPMorgan is based in New York, but Campbell works from home in California. 

“Ms. Campbell’s EEOC filing against JP Morgan describes a complete lack of control and accountability at the bank when it comes to issues of discrimination, harassment, and basic human decency and respect,” Wigdor and Willemin said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. “The fact that the alleged conduct has continued for more than a year-and-a-half without remedy is appalling.” 

Willemin said Campbell tried to stop coworkers from contacting her clients by filing a restraining order against certain employees. A judge denied that request in December, prompting Campbell to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, he said. 

JPMorgan declined to comment on Campbell’s allegations but noted the judge’s refusal to grant the restraining order.  

“A federal court has already spoken on many of these matters,” the company said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch. “As we have previously communicated, we will investigate any employee’s concerns that are escalated.”

JPMorgan Chase is the biggest U.S. bank, with nearly $3 trillion in assets.

“Openly disparaged me”

Campbell, who joined JPMorgan in October 2020 after previous stints at Goldman Sachs, UBS and Merrill Lynch, detailed her allegations in an April 29 post on Medium. 

“I was targeted because of my gender even before my first day,” she wrote. “I learned from my colleague that my soon-to-be manager openly disparaged me by telling colleagues that he preferred to hire a male financial adviser, but was told he ‘had to hire a woman.’ This statement robbed me of credibility and diminished my 30 years of accomplishments before I even walked through the door.”

Campbell also alleged that some male co-workers have poached her clients by offering them large loans with favorable terms. “One client, after being offered a $50 million loan to move assets away from me to a man in the private bank, continued to watch JPMorgan’s attack on me unfold,” Campbell said in her post. 

Losing those clients “has deprived Campbell of literally millions of dollars of compensation as a result of having client transactions poached by other divisions of the bank,” the lawsuit states.  

Campbell’s lawyers said they’re now waiting to see if the EEOC launches an investigation. 

Wall Street has long faced accusations of gender bias. Bank of America in 2013 agreed to pay $39 million to settle a gender discrimination case in which female brokers alleged they were paid less than their male co-workers. 

A 2019 report from pro-labor nonprofit group Good Jobs First found that banks rank first among U.S. corporations in settlements for gender discrimination and sexual harassment cases.

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