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JP Morgan to pay historic settlement in paternity leave case

Derek Rotondo Image copyright ACLU
Image caption Derek Rotondo

JP Morgan will pay $5m (£3.9m) to settle a discrimination case involving parental leave for fathers.

Derek Rotondo said the bank denied him a parental leave benefit available to all employees who are "primary caregivers" of a new-born.

He filed a lawsuit against the firm in 2017, and a class action led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) followed.

The ACLU said the settlement was the first of its kind.

Mr Rotondo said he had simply wanted to spend more time with his children.

The organisation led the class action on behalf of male employees who claimed they were unlawfully denied access to paid parental leave on the same terms as mothers from 2011 to 2017.

In the complaint, Mr Rotondo said that when he sought to take 14 weeks of "primary caregiver" leave after his son was born, JP Morgan told him that fathers were only eligible for two weeks of paid parental leave unless they could show that their spouses or partners were incapacitated or had returned to work.

Under the bank's policy, he did not qualify as a "primary caregiver" because his wife had "no medical limitations" on her ability to care for their child.

In addition, his wife, as a teacher, had the summer off, which meant he could not show that she had returned to work.

The Wall Street bank has agreed to create a $5m fund to compensate the class members, the ACLU said.

As part of the settlement, JP Morgan will maintain a gender-neutral parental leave policy and train those administering the policy.

"I'm proud that since I filed my charge, [JP Morgan] 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."

Mr Rotondo's lawyers said the settlement is the highest recorded in a US parental leave discrimination case, according to reports.

"I love my children, and all I wanted was to spend time with them when they were born," said Mr Rotondo.

Image copyright Getty Images

JP Morgan Associate General Counsel Reid Broda said the firm was "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".

"We thank Mr Rotondo for bringing the matter to our attention."

JP Morgan does not admit liability in the settlement, ACLU said.

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