In anticipation of the birth of his second child, Derek Rotondo, an employee of J.P. Morgan Chase (“JPMC”), queried the human resources department about the company’s parental leave policy. JPMC informed him that, absent special circumstances, as the child’s father, Mr. Rotondo would only be entitled to two weeks of paid leave. On the other hand, had he been the child’s mother, he would automatically be allowed sixteen weeks of paid leave.
The advice given to Mr. Rotondo is consistent with JPMC’s written parental leave policy, which by its terms presumes that the birth mothers will be the baby’s primary caregiver, and permits a male employee the full sixteen weeks of paid leave in only special circumstances.
JPMC’s parental leave policy constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by designating female parents as default primary caregivers.
On June 15, 2017, we filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on behalf of Derek Rotondo and a class consisting of all other men who have been or are being discriminated against by JPMC’s parental leave policy. As a Title VII claim, this complaint had to be initiated with the EEOC before filing in federal court (in technical terms, this requirement is called “exhaustion of administrative remedies”). JPMC responded to the charge with its position statement on October 11, 2017; and we filed our rebuttal position statement on December 21, 2017. To assist with reaching agreement with regard to some details of a settlement, the parties engaged in a mediation session on April 16, 2018.
We executed a settlement agreement with Chase and on May 30, 2019 filed a Class Action Complaint and Motions for Class Certification and Approval of the Settlement in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division. The case was transferred to the Southern District’s Eastern Division.
On October 24, 2019 we filed our Motion for Final Approval and Motion for Fees, Expenses and Service Payment. The proposed gross settlement amount was $5 million, to cover all amounts to be paid to the settlement class members, the service payment to the named plaintiffs, attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses approved by the court, and settlement administrator’s fees and costs that exceed $50,000. On November 20 the Magistrate issued a Report and Recommendation granting our Motions, and on December 3 the Court adopted the Magistrate’s Report and Recommendation. Settlement checks are now being processed for class members.