Banker Alleges She Was Harassed, Wrongfully Fired Over Being pregnant Depart

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A former JP Morgan Chase bank clerk who worked at a Carson branch claims she was molested and later unfairly fired in 2019 for taking an extended medical vacation after the birth of her second child after completing one had suffered postpartum depression.

Joanna Herrera-Ceja’s lawsuit in the Los Angeles Supreme Court also cites Ashli ​​Jernigan, who was identified in the complaint as a store manager in the Chase store in the SouthBay Pavilion shopping mall on Avalon Boulevard.

The charges in the lawsuit include unlawful dismissal, workplace discrimination, retaliation, interference with maternity leave and harassment. In the lawsuit filed on Thursday, she applied for unspecified damages and punitive damages.

A Chase representative could not be immediately reached for comment.

Herrera-Ceja joined Chase in September 2015 as a relationship banker, responsible for the sale of financial services and maintaining customer relationships with the bank. Throughout her tenure, she has consistently exceeded her monthly sales targets depending on the lawsuit.

Herrera-Ceja says she became pregnant in March 2016 and told Jernigan about a month later that she would give birth in early November this year.

The applicant took maternity leave under the State Family and Sick Leave Act in October 2016 and returned in February 2017. At that point, she asked Jernigan if she could move to a branch near where she lived to care for her newborn and cut her commute time, the lawsuit said.

Jernigan responded angrily that she would speak to Chase’s executive director, the lawsuit alleges. In the meantime, Herrera-Ceja contacted the manager of a branch in Long Beach closer to her home where there was an open position for a relationship banker, the lawsuit said.

Herrera-Ceja says she arrived at the Long Beach office as planned for her interview, but the office manager wasn’t there. When the plaintiff called the Long Beach store manager to ask what had happened, the plaintiff informed her that Jernigan had called and, according to the complaint, Herrera-Ceja would not attend the interview.

According to the applicant, the interview with the Long Beach branch was postponed for a later date and the position was offered and accepted. But when Herrera-Ceja told Jernigan that she took the job in Long Beach, Jernigan refused to transfer her, stating that the plaintiff was one of her best bankers, the lawsuit alleges.

Jernigan later changed Herrera-Ceja’s working hours so the plaintiff had to leave work later in the day than requested, calling her “selfish” and saying that she only cares about money and micromanages her interactions with customers, the lawsuit said .

After Herrera-Ceja got pregnant again in January 2018, Jernigan said: “Wow, you heifer … why wouldn’t you tell me?” and the plaintiff went away without answering, the lawsuit alleges. Jernigan later threatened to revoke the plaintiff’s planned vacation, although according to the plaintiff Herrera-Ceja had booked international flights and hotels.

In another interaction, Jernigan “forcibly swung” a chair before placing it between her and the plaintiff when Herrera-Ceja was six months pregnant. Jernigan also allegedly molested the plaintiff for wearing flat heeled shoes instead of high heels, commenting on her growing belly.

Herrera-Ceja gave birth to her second child in September 2018, but later suffered from postpartum depression and was put on medical leave, which was extended three months later with Chase’s approval to give her more time to recover, according to court records. She said she later found out that Chase had posted her position as open to applicants.

Herrera-Ceja says she followed Chase’s instructions to request additional vacation time in May 2019, but the bank refused and she was fired the following month.

Herrea-Ceja has incurred medical expenses and has suffered humiliation, embarrassment, emotional distress, and significant loss of income and job performance.

Banker claims she was molested and wrongly dismissed on maternity leave was last changed: January 18, 2021 by Contributing Editor

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