Morning Coffee: Banker dad who refused to ‘get back in the office’ settles landmark case. Layoffs are happening everywhere

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Morning Coffee: Banker dad who refused to ‘get back in the office’ settles landmark case. Layoffs are happening everywhere

Bankers who plan on adding the role of father to their resume earned a win on Thursday when J.P. Morgan agreed to pay $5 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit initiated by a male employee who claimed the bank’s parental leave policy discriminated against dads.

The complaint was initiated back in 2017 by J.P. Morgan fraud investigator Derek Rotondo, who said he was originally denied 16 weeks of paid parental leave because he wasn’t deemed to be the child’s primary caregiver. He was instead offered two weeks of leave, the amount given to nonprimary caregivers at the time. “Per our policy, birth mothers are what we consider as the primary caregivers,” he was told in writing, according to legal filings seen by the New York Times.

Soon after filing a grievance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, J.P. Morgan granted Rotondo the full 16 weeks of leave typically taken by mothers and parents involved in same-sex relationships. Later that year, the bank clarified its policy to make it easier for men to claim the full 16 weeks of leave. It also increased nonprimary caregiver leave from two weeks to six. Employees can now change their status from nonprimary caregiver to primary if new circumstances arise.

Yet Rotondo and his lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pushed forward with the case to make sure the policy was enforced. “Parents need to be treated with equality,” Rotondo told Bloomberg. “There can’t be an assumption that just because someone is a new mom, she’s going to be doing all the work, and that dads just need to be quiet and get back in the office.”

As part of the settlement, said to be the largest ever recorded in a U.S. parental leave discrimination case, J.P. Morgan agreed to additional training and monitoring of its parental leave policies. The $5 million fund will be shared by male parents who had a child while working at the company between 2011 and 2017 who claim that they would have taken the full 16 weeks available to primary caregivers.

Generally speaking, large investment banks have made major strides over the last few years when it comes to employee benefits for new parents, including outside-the-box ideas like free breast milk shipping for traveling mothers and fertility counseling. And while many banks have joined J.P. Morgan in extending nonprimary caregiver leave, taking months of time away is still heavily stigmatized for male bankers, despite new HR policies, as we reported last year. Some female readers pushed men to take full leave not only for the benefit of themselves and their families, but also for their female colleagues who want everyone to be received the same way.

Elsewhere, headcount at the world’s largest investment banks is falling, as one might expect. But a new review found that staff numbers for all major business lines were down in the year ending in March. As you’ll see in the news clippings below, the redundancy train in banking is only picking up momentum.

Meanwhile:

HSBC is considering cutting at least 500 jobs from its global banking and markets division as the British lender seeks to cut costs. The reductions could begin as soon as the middle of next month. (Bloomberg)

Morgan Stanley cut roughly a half dozen equity sales and trading jobs in Asia last week following a rocky first quarter for trading divisions at large investment banks. Q2 may be even worse. (Reuters)

Japanese bank Mitsubishi Financial has offered all 500 London-based directors and managing directors voluntary redundancy packages. That list includes the head of its European securities business who started five weeks ago. (Financial News)

While equity markets “have more downside than upside,” a stock market collapse is unlikely, according to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman. So there’s that. (Bloomberg)

Citi was reportedly in advanced negotiations to partner with Apple on a branded credit card but pulled out due to concerns over profitability. In stepped Goldman Sachs, which will launch the Apple Card this summer. (CNBC)

Good poker players make for strong hedge fund managers, according to a new study, though you may not want to put your gambling activities on your resume. (Bloomberg)

London-based emerging markets credit traders Vivek Mittal and Vikramdeep Gill have each departed Deutsche Bank. (Reuters)

As of March, Google employed more temps and contractors globally than full-time staff. While it didn’t make many headlines, one of the demands made by Google employees who staged a mass walkout last year included better treatment of contractors, who make less money and have worse benefit plans than full-time employees. Contingent labor accounts for as much as half of all workers at many tech companies in the U.S. (NY Times)  

Two female partners have resigned from their positions at KPMG over alleged bullying by a male colleague in the U.K. Maggie Brereton, former head of U.K. transaction services, and Ina Kjaer, former head of U.K. integration within its deal advisory team, left in February. (FT)

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