Black Physician Accuses Chase Bank of Racial Discrimination

Black Physician Accuses Chase Bank of Racial Discrimination

A Black physician in Texas who was prevented from depositing a check and opening an account at a Chase Bank is suing the bank and two of its employees for racial discrimination. The check was a signing bonus for her first job as a physician, received from her employer, Valley Oaks Medical Group, which serves patients in Texas and Nevada.

Chase Bank

According to the complaint, filed February 1 with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, Malika Mitchell-Stewart, MD, a family medicine physician, presented a $16,780 check to bank employees at a Sugar Land, Texas, branch of Chase Bank in an attempt to deposit the check and open an account on December 18, 2021. In addition to providing personal identification, to substantiate her relationship with the practice where she is employed, the physician shared with the bank employees emails she had exchanged with her employer, in addition to her business card.

Mitchell-Stewart was told by the bank employees that the check was “fraudulent” and that she was “attempting to commit fraud” by depositing the check, per the complaint.

Concerned about being accused of committing fraud, Mitchell-Stewart went home to avoid being arrested, per the complaint, where she is described as feeling “humiliated and treated like a criminal after getting her first check after years of being in medical residency.”

“They took my special moment away,” Mitchell-Stewart told Houston television station KTRK, regarding her first paycheck as a physician after years of study. “You have to go to school for so many years, and they just didn’t care. They didn’t respect that. They didn’t respect my credentials.”

Per the complaint, Mitchell-Stewart “had a right under Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, et seq. to be free from discrimination based on her race in the ‘making, performance, modification and termination of contracts, and the enjoyment of all benefits, privileges, terms, and conditions of the contractual relationship,’ including the relationships she sought with Chase on December 18, 2021.”

Justin Moore, an attorney representing Mitchell-Stewart, told Medscape Medical News, “What happened to Dr Mitchell-Stewart shocks the senses, but the reality is that the discrimination she faced is pattern and practice when it comes to Black people engaging with financial institutions in this country. It’s been like that for generations.”

“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 [Black people] as if we are nothing,” added Moore. “Courageously, Dr Mitchell-Stewart decided to not let Chase treat her like a criminal because she is Black, and is seeking to fight back with a civil rights lawsuit. We all should be inspired by her resolve and willingness to fight back.”

Chase Bank provided the following comment to KTRK: “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.”

Mitchell-Stewart is seeking compensatory and punitive damages of at least $1,000,000, in addition to attorney fees and related costs, according to the complaint.

For more news, follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Source: Read Full Article