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Ex-JPMorgan Chase Assistant Bank Manager Defeats Defeats Bank’s Summary Judgment Motion

On February 18, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered an Order denying JPMorgan’s Chase’s Motion for Summary Judgment, thereby allowing our client, Vyacheslav Digilov to proceed to trial against the bank on his claims of age discrimination and unlawful retaliation.

Mr. Digilov, who is now 62 years, emigrated with his family to this country from the Soviet Union in 1992. Mr. Digilov took business and banking courses, and worked 13 years for other banks, before joining Chase as an Assistant Branch Manager. After five years in that position, Mr. Digilov made repeated attempts to become a Branch Manager Trainee, which would allow him to become a Branch Manager. Each of his attempts, however, were blocked even though he had the required experience and skills.

Mr. Digilov came to realize that Chase was holding him back, not because of a lack of experience or capabilities, but because of his age. He complained about age discrimination to his Branch Manager, the District Manager, Marni Chua, and her boss, the Market Manager. After his complaints of age discrimination, Mr. Digilov was met by a barrage of retaliatory actions by his superiors at Chase, and in particular, by Ms. Chua. As the district court wrote, there was “enough evidence in the record for a jury to infer retaliatory intent”:

“Within days of Digilov’s complaint to Chua, she (i) reached out to Digilov’s former branch manager to obtain a bullet-proof list of negative attributes and (ii) directed his current branch manager to reprimand him … Chua also heavily participated in [Digilov's] next performance review, delivered four months later, which drastically lowered his reviews from their consistent level of the past five years and rendered him ineligible for promotion.”

The hostility from Chase eventually became so great, that Mr. Digilov was forced to take disability leave.

There is a Court conference scheduled for March 4, 2015, and unless the parties can settle the matter, a trial will be held later this year.