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A black doctor filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase Bank after she said employees at a branch in Houston discriminated against her and denied her service because of her race.
Dr. Malika Mitchell-Stewart, who had just started working with the Valley Oaks Medical Group in Houston, said she tried depositing her first paycheck for $16,000 last December at the bank. But she was met with skepticism as employees questioned the validity of her check and her job.
According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday against the bank and two employees, the bank employees 'immediately treated her like a criminal' when Mitchell-Stewart walked into the First Colony Branch in Sugar Land, Texas.
'It was an unfortunate situation. They took my special moment away,' Mitchell-Stewart told ABC 13. 'I felt like a criminal. I've never done anything wrong.'
Dr. Malika Mitchell-Stewart filed a lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase after employees at a Houston branch questioned her $16,000 paycheck and refused her service
The company has apologized for the incident and said it would be investigating the branch
Mitchell-Stewart said her elation at becoming a medical professional was crushed by the actions of the banking employees, who she said hounded her with questions about her age, job and even asked for contact information for people who would vouch for her identity.
'They didn't respect anything. I shouldn't have even been asked so many questions about my age, what I did for a living, just to open an account at Chase,' Mitchell-Stewart said.
'In order to get Texas medical license or a medical license at all, you have to have a clean record. You have to go to school for so many years, and they just didn't care.'
Her attorney, Justin Moore added: 'Dr. Mitchell-Stewart showed proof of identification. She showed proof that she was a doctor by presenting a business card. She even called employees from her medical group to confirm who she was.'
Mitchell-Stewart (left) said she hasn't done anything wrong and that her joy over her new job had been shattered by the incident. Her attorney, Justin Moore (right) condemned the bank for their alleged actions against the doctor
In a following statement, Moore condemned the action of the Chase Bank employees but said the discrimination Mitchell-Stewart faced was nothing new.
'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.'
JPMorgan Chase said in a statement that the company is 'investigating the situation' and apologized for what Mitchell-Stewart went through.
'We take this matter very seriously,' the company said. 'We have reached out to Dr. Mitchell-Stewart to better understand what happened and apologize for her experience.'