JP Morgan Fined for Whistleblower Retaliation

Per a recent decision from the U.S. Department of Labor, JPMorgan Chase wrongfully retaliated against a former employee who had raised questions about the sales tactics and investment products offered by the bank. As a result, the bank had to pay back wages and damages to the employee, Johnny Burris, who had been a broker at an Arizona branch of the bank.

A letter from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration indicated the bank was guilty of violating aspects of the Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower protection law. The bank was planning to appeal the findings, according to a spokesperson for the company.

Burris was fired in 2012 after resisting some of his bank managers who had pressured him to sell investment products that were unsuitably risky for his elderly clients. JPMorgan eventually fired Burris for different offenses. Upon investigation, a representative from the Labor Department said evidence of those offenses was “questionable,” and even if true, those offenses would not be enough in normal circumstances to justify firing an employee, particularly one with Burris’s record. The investigator also said the bank did not adhere to its standard disciplinary policy in terminating Mr. Burris.

Burris had also complained about the bank’s sales tactics and the way the company treated him in a 2013 article by The New York Times. After the article appeared, Burris’s manager went back to add customer complaints to his record, even though he hadn’t been an employee of the bank for months. These customers eventually told the Times they had never lodged such complaints about Burris.

Federal government protects whistleblowers

Whistleblowers today are afforded more protections than ever before thanks to legislation established in 2011. If you believe you have been retaliated against because you raised concerns about workplace operations, contact a skilled Dallas whistleblower attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers.