A Texas doctor says she was embarrassed last year when she was denied opening a bank account with a $16,000 check from her job according to a lawsuit claiming racial discrimination. 34-year-old Dr. Malika Mitchell-Stewart recently finished her residency and was excited to open an account on Dec. 18. with a $16,780.16 signing bonus check from Valley Oaks Medical Group, according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday against JPMorgan Chase and two of its employees at a local branch in Sugar Land, Texas.
Mitchell-Stewart’s excitement quickly turned into humiliation after employees at the location raised questions about the check’s authenticity and her employment as a doctor. Later they accused Mitchell-Stewart’s of fraud before turning her away, the lawsuit stated according to NBC News.
“Dr. Mitchell-Stewart certainly did not expect that when she attempted to open a bank account with Chase and proudly deposit her first check as a new physician she would be accused of fraud and denied the ability to open a bank account at one of the more prominent retail banks in the world,” the lawsuit said.
“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 said in a statement last week, “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’s attorney, Justin Moore, said in a statement that what the Doctor endured is part of a bigger pattern of discrimination Black people face while banking in America.
“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.”