A Black doctor in Texas has filed a federal lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase alleging racial discrimination after being denied in opening a bank account.
According to the suit filed Wednesday, Dr. Malika Mitchell-Stewart says she tried to open a bank account at a Texas JPMorgan Chase on Dec. 18 with a $16,780.16 signing bonus check from the Valley Oaks Medical Group. When she handed the check over, Mitchell-Stewart says she was asked questions about the check’s authenticity and her employment as a doctor. Two employees at the bank eventually accused Mitchell-Stewart of fraud and turned her away.
“What Dr. Mitchell-Stewart was reminded of on this day was that she is a Black woman attempting to deposit $16,000 in a predominantly white affluent suburb. … Solely because of her race, Dr. Mitchell-Stewart was discriminated against by members of Chase’s banking staff and denied services provided to non-African American customers of Chase.”
JPMorgan Chase, which has donated millions to several Black causes, said in a statement to NBC News, “We take this matter very seriously and are investigating the situation. We have reached out to Dr. Mitchell-Stewart to better understand what happened and apologize for her experience.”
The two employees that prevented Mitchell-Stewart from opening an account have been named in the suit as defendants. Justin Moore, Mitchell-Stewart’s attorney, said the incident points to a larger issue of discrimination Black Americans face while banking.
“For a Black female physician to be treated this way by Chase is a devastating reminder that no matter how hard we try and how far we climb, major corporations in this country still view us as if we are nothing,” Moore said. “Courageously, Dr. Mitchell-Stewart decided to not let Chase treat her like a criminal because she is Black, and is seeking to fight back. … We all should be inspired by her resolve and willingness to fight back.”