on Thursday agreed to pay a bombshell $5 million to hundreds of men who claimed they weren’t given the same paid leave as women when they became parents.
The proposed class-action settlement, filed in Ohio federal court, is the culmination of a 2017 complaint brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging Chase was biased against one of their employees, named Derek Rotondo.
“I love my children, and all I wanted was to spend time with them when they were born,” Rotondo said in a statement from the ACLU. “I’m proud that since I filed my charge, Chase has clarified its policy to ensure that both male and female employees who wish to be the primary parental caregiver have equal access to those benefits.”
This is the biggest settlement ever recorded in a U.S. parental leave discrimination case, Rotondo’s lawyers said.
In his complaint, Rotondo claimed that when he asked to take 14 weeks of leave after his son was born, Chase’s human resources department told him only women were considered primary caregivers and eligible for the full 16 weeks of paid parental leave.
Fathers were only eligible for two paid weeks, unless the mom was incapacitated or back at work, they allegedly said.
Soon after Rotondo filed his Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Chase gave him the full 16 weeks of caregiver leave.
In December 2017, Chase clarified their policy to ensure men and women have the same access, according to Rotondo and his lawyers.
The bank said their policy was always intended to be gender-neutral.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement in this matter and look forward to more effectively communicating the policy so that all men and women employees are aware of their benefits,” said Reid Broda, JPMorgan Chase & Co. Associate General Counsel. “We thank Mr. Rotondo for bringing the matter to our attention.”
The ACLU said the resolution is the “first class-action lawsuit to settle discrimination claims for a class of fathers who claim they were denied the opportunity to receive equal paid parent leave given to mothers.”
The settlement will go to fathers who allege they were denied access to the same paid parental leave as mothers from 2011 to 2017.
“Unfortunately, the gender stereotype that raising children is a woman’s job is still prevalent, and is reflected in far too many corporate policies,” said Galen Sherwin, senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.
“We are pleased that Chase is committed to ensuring that its parental leave system meets the needs of today’s families.”