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JPMorgan agrees to settle Bank One disability suit

November 23, 2006|From Bloomberg News

JPMorgan Chase & Co., the third-biggest U.S. bank, agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle claims that the company's Bank One unit discriminated against hundreds of employees on long-term medical leave, the government said Wednesday.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claimed Bank One, which JPMorgan acquired in 2004, violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to properly accommodate employees whose medical leaves exceeded six months.

It's the second settlement of EEOC charges in as many days by JPMorgan, which employs about 171,500 people. The EEOC said Tuesday that JPMorgan would pay $200,000 to settle claims that its Chase Manhattan Bank unit fired an employee because of a speech impairment.

"Chase is settling this case to resolve this matter expeditiously, and also because this agreement reaffirms its commitment to providing reasonable accommodations to its employees," the bank said in a statement.

Bank One had a policy of permitting employees who returned from short-term disability within six months to keep their jobs, the EEOC said in a statement. Employees who required more than six months of disability leave were not guaranteed a place.

If the position had been filled, employees returning to work had 30 days to find other positions within Bank One or face termination, the EEOC said. The disabilities act requires that employers individually assess whether extra leave will help employees without unduly hurting a company, the agency said.

The investigation into Bank One's policy began in March 2004. JPMorgan took over negotiations with the EEOC after buying Bank One.

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