Shaquala Williams, a former compliance attorney at JP Morgan, has sued the company for retaliation after she raised misconduct concerns. The bank filed a motion for summary judgement, alleging Williams was terminated due to poor performance. A New York federal judge denied summary judgement, and the trial will begin this November.
Williams’ suit alleges that she was retaliated against and ultimately fired, after alerting management to the bank’s compliance failures. She believed (in part) that they were violating a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors and an order from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The lawsuit claims that Williams first complained to her managers, who were dismissive. Williams then tried to escalate her complaints, and received a written warning and poor performance review.
JP Morgan argues that they devoted significant resources to investing Williams’ compliance complaints. They say that they conducted an inquiry over several months—but that Williams’ complaints didn’t have an effect on her firing. They instead claim that she had performance problems, and rude and unprofessional behavior. She didn’t improve, so they fired her.
Williams contends that her actions were protected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
Judge Jed Rakoff ruled that the bank hadn’t met the burden for him to grant summary judgment. The case leaves many questions of fact that only a jury can analyze. However, Judge Rakoff did dismiss Williams’ claim JP Morgan refused to stop harassing her after she was terminated. Williams had claimed the bank interfered with a potential position at the New York Attorney General’s office. A more detailed opinion is expected to follow before the trial in November.
Standing up to an unscrupulous employer can be frightening. An experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group can help navigate the process and fight for your rights. If you suspect employer wrongdoing or retaliation, schedule a consultation today.