JPMorgan, PayPal Separately Accused of Pregnancy Bias

JPMorgan Chase and PayPal each failed to accommodate and fired a woman who was pregnant and set to take maternity leave, the women charged in separate lawsuits filed in federal courts in Illinois and Arizona.

Fadia Salah’s discharge from her position as a relationship banker at JPMorgan’s Hickory Hills, Ill., branch came just two weeks before she was to begin her maternity leave. It followed complaints from her branch manager that her time off would leave the branch short-staffed and months of his pressuring her to quit, she alleges in her Jan. 23 court complaint.

The branch manager monitored her movements and work more closely than other employees and even required her to seek permission to use the restroom, Salah says. He also denied her request for a chair to occasionally sit in to alleviate the pain her pregnancy caused her from standing for long periods at the bank’s teller counter, she says.

Malena Ward’s complaint, filed Jan. 23 in federal court in Arizona, describes a similar end to her employment with PayPal Inc. Ward says she informed her supervisor of complications with her pregnancy that required her to leave her desk frequently and eventually caused her doctor to move up the date of her maternity leave.

Her supervisor responded by starting to monitor her work more closely than he had before—and more closely than he monitored other employees, Ward says. He even wrote her up for “issues that were common” to her work group. She was fired two days after telling her supervisor her doctor was considering moving up the start date of her leave or putting her on a reduced schedule, she says.

JPMorgan Chase declined “to comment on the record” when contacted Jan. 24 by Bloomberg Law. Salah’s lawsuit “is pending litigation,” a company spokesman said in an email.

PayPal didn’t immediately respond Jan. 24 to Bloomberg Law’s request for comment.

The cases are Salah v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., N.D. Ill., No. 1:18-cv-00532, complaint filed 1/23/18 and Ward v. PayPal Inc., D. Ariz., No. 2:18-cv-00234, complaint filed 1/23/18.