After Asking Employees to Reveal Personal Beliefs, Chase Faces Boycott

Over four thousand Americans have signed a petition to boycott Chase bank over a company survey that probed employees about their personal beliefs.

Launched by The National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the campaign “Void Chase,” urges customers across the globe to take their banking business elsewhere until JP Morgan Chase apologizes and promises “never again to invade the privacy of your employees in this way.”

The international boycott is the result of an invasive survey that asked whether Chase employees identify themselves as LGBT or an “LGBT ally.”

Robert P. George, a law professor at Princeton University and co-author of a book onthe definition of marriage, first reported on the survey on his law blog, Mirror of Justice, after a JPMorgan Chase employee brought it to his attention.

The petition, addressed to J.P. Morgan Chase CEO and Board of Directors, says the survey “creates a menacing and hostile environment for employees who may not answer in the politically approved way.”

It also asserts the LGBT questions “violated for both your employees and consumers the central value in any banking relationship – trust.”

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Brian S. Brown, president of NOM, said as part of the “Void Chase” campaign, he’s moving his home mortgage – currently held by Chase – to another bank.

“This situation is unacceptable and deplorable, and a clear message must be sent that it simply will not be tolerated,” he said in a prepared statement.

Human Rights Campaign, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization in the nation, reacted to NOM’s petition:

This week, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) announced an international boycott of JPMorgan Chase for having the nerve to ask employees to fill out a voluntary and confidential survey that included a question asking whether or not they considered themselves an ally of the LGBT community. No action has been taken against any employee based on the survey results. No retaliation has occurred. JPMorgan Chase has not given any indication that they have any intention of doing anything with the information.

Although the banking giant told The Daily Signal the survey was “completely voluntary and anonymous,” multiple whistleblowers said they were required to enter their employee IDs.

“Employees were required to identify themselves with their employee Standard ID Number prior to taking the survey,” said one Chase employee to NOM.

Another source, who asked not to be identified for fear of losing employment, expressed outrage over the inquiry on Mirror of Justice:

Not selecting that option is essentially saying ‘I’m not an ally of civil rights,’ which is a vague way to say ‘I’m a bigot. The worry among many of us is that those who didn’t select that poorly placed, irrelevant option will be placed on the ‘you can fire these people first’ list.

JPMorgan Chase is one of the largest financial institutions in the world, with 260,000 employees in more than 60 countries. Chase is its U.S. customer and commercial banking unit, with 185,000 U.S.-based employees.

Among its diversity programs is PRIDE, an international LGBT network that offers employees “tools and opportunities for personal career development, including mentoring programs and professional forums.”

Joe Grabowski, director of communications at NOM, told The Daily Signal Chase owes its employees and customers a sincere apology.

These were inappropriate questions to be asking of employees, especially when there was confusion and doubt about how the information was going to be used in a corporate climate that is very openly pro-LGBT, as Chase bank is.

Grabowski also called on the banking giant to tell employees and customers “what exactly that information is going to be used for.”

When contacted multiple times by The Daily Signal, Chase refused to comment on the petition.

“Each day they refuse to answer questions about this, it further damages their trustworthiness and their credential with the public,” said Grabowski.

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