March 14, 2016 BOS 2016-036
OSHA orders JP Morgan Chase Bank to reinstate fired operations manager
who raised concerns about financial transactions' validity
Bank also ordered to pay more than $200K in back wages, damages
NEW YORK - JP Morgan Chase Bank terminated a loan delivery operations manager at its Iselin, New Jersey offices illegally after he raised concerns about financial transactions to his superiors, a whistleblower investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found.
As a result, OSHA is ordering the bank to reinstate the employee, pay him $151,669.36 in back wages and $51,654.85 in compensatory damages and out-of-pocket medical expenses. The bank must also expunge the employee's personnel records and post a notice for employees informing them of their whistleblower rights under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act* and the Consumer Financial Protection Act*.
"These laws expressly protect employees' rights to raise reasonable concerns about what they believe to be potential violations without fear of retaliation by their employers. If employees are afraid to come forward for fear of punishment, financial wrongdoing could be masked, with consequences for employees, the employers and consumers," said Robert Kulick, OSHA regional administrator in New York.
OSHA's investigation found that the loan manager engaged in protected activity when he raised numerous concerns to bank management between November 2013 and May 2014 about failures to properly record loans, both internally and to government regulators, and for refusing to override a failed compliance test and falsely report it as having passed. The bank retaliated by removing the employee's responsibilities, eliminating his position and subsequently terminating his employment on July 31, 2014.
The employee filed a complaint with OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program, which investigated and found that there was reasonable cause to believe that the complainant's protected activity was a contributing factor in the adverse actions taken against him. The employee and JP Morgan Chase each have 30 days from receipt of OSHA's findings to file objections and request a hearing before the Labor Department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.
OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of the Sox, CFPA and 20 other statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, worker safety, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime and securities laws.
Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or to the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the Secretary of Labor to request an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program. Detailed information on employee whistleblower rights, including fact sheets, is available at http://www.whistleblowers.gov.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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Editor's note: The U.S. Department of Labor does not release the names of employees involved in whistleblower complaints.
Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, email@example.com
Release Number: 16-452-NEW
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