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Banking giant settles class action lawsuit over parental leave

Banking giant JPMorgan Chase has agreed to pay $5 million to male employees who entered a class action lawsuit because they weren’t given the same paid leave women received to care for newborns.

It has not been revealed how many men will share in the settlement, but the number could be in the thousands. Men who had applied for primary caregiver leave but were denied over the past seven years were eligible to take part in the lawsuit.

The suit began after a Chase employee told the company he wanted 16 weeks of paid leave following the birth of his son. He said he was told he could receive only two weeks off with pay. He filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The bank soon said he could have the time off.

Still, the case proceeded and it became one of a number of class-action lawsuits filed against corporate giants. Chase has since changed its policy on parental leave, as has CNN, which faced a similar complaint in 2015. Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder also paid more than $1 million to settle a parental leave case.

The Chase employee said that since he filed his claim, fathers working at other companies have contacted him. He said he is happy he took that first step “so that we could get rid of some of these stereotypes where it’s the woman’s job to have babies and cook and the man gets back to work and pays the bills. That doesn’t work for everyone; it’s not the century that we live in.”

A class action lawsuit in this case led to a financial settlement as well as a change in corporate policy. Such a lawsuit is an effective way to solve issues that impact a number of people and to affect change.