A medical doctor in Houston is suing Chase bank over allegations of racial discrimination.
Dr. Malika Mitchell-Stewart says she was “treated like a criminal” when she tried to open an account.
Chase apologized for the experience and said it is investigating the situation.
Fresh out of residency and in a new full-time job as a physician with Valley Oaks Medical Group, Dr. Malika Mitchell-Stewart visited a Houston area Chase bank branch to open an account and deposit her first check.
When she presented the $16,780.16 to the teller, the teller began to ask “peculiar questions” about its authenticity and Mitchell-Stewart’s employment, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in US District Court.
“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 complaint said.
“We take this matter very seriously and are investigating the situation,”a Chase spokesperson told Insider. “We have reached out to Dr. Mitchell-Stewart to better understand what happened and apologize for her experience.”
According to the lawsuit, when the first teller asked another branch employee for an opinion on the check (which represented a signing bonus), the second employee declared it to be fraudulent without offering any justification.
Personal ID, emails, and business cards were not enough to change the employees’ minds, the suit says.
“They took my special moment away. I felt like a criminal,” Mitchell-Stewart told KTRK, which first reported the suit,. “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. They didn’t respect that. They didn’t respect my credentials.”
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