Saturday 24 March 2018

JP Morgan manager challenges suspension in court

A SENIOR manager at a subsidiary of JP Morgan Bank claims she was suspended after questioning whether the bank was complying with anti-money laundering regulations, the High Court heard.

Rachel Curtis, senior credit and risk officer/vice president at Chase Paymentech Europe, says she faces possible dismissal after raising the matter internally.

Chase Paymentech is a Dublin-based subsidiary that provides services including processing payments to online retailers for JP Morgan.

Ms Curtis has held her post since 2009 on a package of €170,000 per year.

In her proceedings against JP Morgan Bank (Ireland) Plc and Chase Paymentech, Ms Curtis seeks various orders, including an injunction preventing her employers from taking any steps to dismiss her and the lifting of her suspension.

She also wants to stop the company embarking on a disciplinary process against her.

Mr Justice Paul Gilligan yesterday granted Ms Curtis permission to serve short notice of proceedings against the defendants following a one-side only represented application.

The judge said that he was not disposed to granting any orders without the other side being heard. The matter comes before him again on Monday.

Peter Ward SC, for Ms Curtis, said his client was suspended earlier this month arising out of concerns she had expressed to her superiors that the company was not complying with the Central Bank's anti-money laundering policies.

In early November she was informed by the  Human Resources department she was being suspended on pay in order to allow an independent investigation into her complaints.

She was told that it would be better if she was not on the premises while the investigation was being conducted.

She was "escorted off the company's premises" and has "not been back since", counsel said.  The Central Bank are aware of that investigation. the court heard.

Counsel said that after Ms Curtis's lawyers wrote to her employer challenging the initial grounds of her suspension, her employers had responded by "shifting position."

His client was informed in recent days she was now being suspended for an alleged breach of discipline.

She was informed she was being suspended for allegedly sending inappropriate communications, in October and November, that breach the employer's corporate policies.

In the last few days she received a letter requesting that she attend at a disciplinary meeting, scheduled to take place next Tuesday. The outcome of this could be that she will be dismissed, counsel said.

Ms Curtis is very concerned about what her suspension and the disciplinary process will have on her reputation, counsel said.

Counsel also said that in an unrelated matter his client had complained she was subjected to inappropriate behaviour by senior management at the company.

Following an investigation that complaint was found to unsubstantiated.  She has lodged an appeal against that decision, counsel said.

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