Chase Sued for Racial Discrimination, Constructive Discharge

JP Morgan Chase is being sued by a former employee for racial discrimination and constructive discharge on the grounds that Chase limited his career prospects by requiring him to work in a certain location because of his race.

Francis Abanga, an African-American male, was hired by Chase in 2007 as a personal banker, according to the complaint. He was promoted to financial advisor in 2011 “because of his outstanding performance.”

By 2013 Abanga was covering four Chase branches as a financial advisor and continued to do so for three years “with great results.” In 2017, however, Abamga’s supervisor, Gabriel Godoy, encouraged him to take a job as a private client advisor in Chase’s Harlem branch, the complaint states.

Abanga claims he did not want to take the job in Harlem because his commissions were based on the amount of money managed in the bank branches and the four he was working in would provide him with a greater income than the one in Harlem.

Two months after declining to take the Harlem job Godoy told Abanga that he would only be covering two of the four branches he had been working in. The two branches that he would no longer be covering were in primarily Hispanic areas of the city. Chase gave those two branches to an Hispanic individual who, according to Abanga, was not as qualified as he was.

When a position opened up in a Fort Washington branch of Chase on the Upper West Side of the city and Abanga expressed interest in it, Godoy told him “the demographics would not support him.” Godoy told him the neighborhood was largely Jewish and Hispanic. The position later went to an Hispanic individual “who was no more productive than” Abanga, according to the complaint.

Later, when an opening came up in a largely Indian/Pakistani section of the city, Abanga was denied the opportunity to apply as “it was not for” him. The position later went to “an Indian individual who had lesser qualifications than” Abanga. Godoy again stated that he thought Abanga “would be best in Harlem,” the complaint states.

Abanga claims that Chase’s “practice of refusing to allow certain branches to [him] because of his ethnicity/race/color is discriminatory and unlawful.”

The complaint states that Abanga’s claim of constructive discharge is based on his belief that “his career would be severely limited with [Chase] because his ethnicity/color/race would dictate where he would be placed” and that he was forced to leave. 

Abanga is represented by Lauren Goldberg of New York city who filed the case in the Southern District of New York.

Image Source: Mike Mozart