JPMorgan Traders Complain Bank Didn’t Warn Them About Recent COVID-19 Outbreak
Wed, 09/23/2020 – 19:40
While the world’s biggest tech firms have come out in favor of working from home in perpetuity (or at least until next summer), JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs were among the earliest major American companies to start pushing employees to get back to the office. And already, both have endured trading floor outbreaks (albeit smaller than outbreaks they experienced back in March).
But while JP Morgan’s ‘research’ showing young employees lose ‘creative intelligence’ when confined to their homes – denied the collaborative experience of working from a cubicle in Midtown – is certainly compelling, it looks like the bank’s employees have some trepidation about the push back to the office.
Specifically, they’re concerned about the bank’s policy of only informing employees who came into close, direct contact with anybody who tests positive of the virus. According to CNBC, an employee asked Troy Rohrbaugh, JPM’s global markets head, about the policy during a recent virtual town hall.
The executive explained the bank’s policy is to inform only those who had been working on the same floor, or who may have had contact with the sick individual.
But JPM isn’t alone in that: Goldman only discloses infection to workers who had meetings, or worked on the same floor, as somebody who got sick.
Traders are reportedly angry that when there was a trading floor outbreak earlier this month, they only learned about it when they saw the story on their Bloomberg terminals.
“Why did I have to read about this in Bloomberg?” said one trader who declined to be identified criticizing his or her employer, referring to an article on the matter.
Looking to the CDC guidelines, the source of the conflict is clear. Guidelines clearly state that “employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.” “Exposure” is defined as “being within 6 feet of someone with the virus for 15 minutes or more”.
That’s a change from the early days of the outbreak, when information about infections was more widely shared by both banks. Meanwhile, JPM said in an official statement that its protocols “go beyond just notifying those who are in close contact”…with the bank adding that “we notify a wide group of employees out of precaution.”
CEO Jamie Dimon might want to give the issue a rethink if the bank still prioritizes recruiting the ‘top talent’ out of America’s rapidly emptying colleges. While big tech firms are known for their office ‘perks’, in the future, the most desirable ‘perk’ of all might be the ability to work from anywhere.