JPMorgan to pay $1.85m to settle sex-based harassment suit

(REUTERS) - JPMorgan Chase & Co will pay US$1.45 million (S$1.85 million) to settle a government lawsuit that charged the company maintained a sexually hostile environment for women in an Ohio mortgage center more than four years ago.

The United States (US) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which announced the settlement on Monday of a case brought in 2009, said the work situation included sexually charged behaviour and comments from supervisory staff in a mortgage banking centre in the company's Polaris Park offices outside of Columbus, Ohio.

Women mortgage bankers who did not embrace the atmosphere were ostracized and kept from lucrative sales calls, training and other job benefits, the EEOC said.

The US$1.45 million will be divided among 16 women who worked at the center, the EEOC said. JPMorgan is creating a system to make sure sales opportunities are fairly distributed, according to the commission.

JPMorgan spokesman Amy Bonitatibus said, "We fully agree with the EEOC that harassment and discrimination have no place in the work environment."