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JPMorgan faces bias lawsuit by ex-vice president

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former JPMorgan Chase & Co vice president on Thursday filed a gender bias lawsuit against the bank, claiming she was fired after trying to start a family.

JPMorgan spokesman Joe Evangelisti declined to comment.

According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, plaintiff Marie Dzanis joined JPMorgan's New York office in 2002 from Citigroup Inc as vice president in the funds and financial intermediaries' wholesalers' group, and by 2003 oversaw 52 percent of the bank's nationwide wholesale sales.

But she alleged that JPMorgan passed over her in favor of a less qualified male colleague for a promotion to national sales manager, a move "typical of JPMorgan's 'boy's club' atmosphere."

She said her new boss excluded her from key meetings, stripped her of responsibilities in the high-revenue states of Florida, New Jersey and New York, and questioned whether she planned to have children.

Dzanis said she informed her boss in January 2007 that she had miscarried the prior month, and that he then became more openly hostile toward the idea of her being a working mother, once asking why she did not quit and become an "executive wife."

The plaintiff said she was fired in May 2007 and that JPMorgan sent her a reduced severance package that required her to waive potential legal claims.

She also said she complained to JPMorgan's human resources department about her supervisor, but that the New York-based bank insisted she adapt to his management style.

The lawsuit seeks at least $4 million in damages, including back pay and lost future earnings, compensatory and punitive damages, and other remedies.

The case is Dzanis v. JPMorgan Chase & Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-03384.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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