MALDEF SUES JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST EMPLOYEE WITH HIV
Unlawful actions violate Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act
LOS ANGELES, CA - MALDEF filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Chase) in Los Angeles County Superior Court late last week for unlawful discrimination against former Vice President of Community Development Banking, Jesus Leon. The suit seeks damages for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
"For a large and sophisticated corporate entity like Chase to treat an employee with a serious disability so cavalierly is simply inexcusable in this day and age," stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. "We should expect our largest employers to act with greater sensitivity to moral and legal obligation."
Mr. Leon had been a Chase employee since June 2010, when he was hired as Vice President of Global Philanthropy in Florida. In January 2012, he relocated to Los Angeles to begin a new position on Chase's Community Development Banking Team, until he was forced to resign because Chase failed to accommodate his condition and to engage in the legally-required interactive process to determine how to accommodate. In July 2012, Mr. Leon's physician recommended an adjustment in Mr. Leon's work schedule, so Mr. Leon requested an accommodation from Chase. However, Chase denied him doctor-ordered schedule modifications, which exacerbated his medical condition.
He then submitted a complaint to Human Resources. But, after waiting nearly a month for Chase to engage in an interactive process, Mr. Leon resigned.
Under FEHA and the ADA, an employer must engage in a good-faith interactive process with a disabled employee to explore ways to accommodate the disability. Additionally, the employer is required to provide a reasonable disability accommodation. Chase had been aware of Mr. Leon's condition prior to July 2012, and willfully took actions to deny his rights under the law.
"A request for accommodation opens a discussion between the employer and the employee," said Matthew J. Barragan, Staff Attorney at MALDEF. "Employers need to earnestly analyze the job at hand and assess whether an employee with a disability is able to perform the essential functions of that job with a reasonable accommodation. People with disabilities cannot be excluded from jobs due to ill-conceived assumptions about their abilities."
Chase's failure to accommodate the Plaintiff as indicated in his doctor's orders violates employee civil rights protections. MALDEF is committed to seeking justice for vulnerable Californians terminated by their employers in violation of state and federal laws.
MALDEF's complaint in the case is available here.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.