JPMorgan Chase will not pay for junior sales and trading staff to take an Uber to work, reversing actions the bank took after the COVID-19 pandemic to help staff feel comfortable about commuting to work, Bloomberg News reported.
The change was communicated by managers last week, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing an internal policy.
JPMorgan had started reimbursing employees for Uber and taxi rides to work for traders below the managing director level right after the pandemic started, according to the report, which added the recent change is causing anxiety among junior staff who are uncomfortable taking public transport.
The bank’s executives had previously told managing directors and some executive directors within its sales and trading operation that they must return to the office by Sept. 21.
Bloomberg News on Tuesday had reported that JPMorgan sent some of its Manhattan workers home this week after an employee in equities trading tested positive for COVID-19.
The bank did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.
Judge tosses quadriplegic defense in hedge fund manager sexual harassment case
A federal judge has ruled that being a quadriplegic did not necessarily stop a hedge fund manager from sexually harassing his employees.
Influential biotech investor Sam Isaly — who left his $15 billion hedge fund after a scathing report claimed he “perpetuated a toxic culture of sexual harassment” — has had his defamation suit against the publisher tossed.
The 75-year-old Isaly had sued the company behind the scandalous report, Boston Globe Media Partners, for defamation in 2018, claiming that a teenage wrestling injury that left constrained to a wheelchair with assistants to help him perform menial tasks made it impossible for him to have done the horrible deeds described in the report.
But Manhattan federal judge Laura Taylor Swain rejected the notion that Isaly’s condition prevented him from carrying out the alleged abuses, including “routinely subjecting young female assistants to pornography in the workplace, lewd jokes, and pervasive sexist comments.”
Isaly left OrbiMed in December 2017, a week after the article emerged in health care news site STATNews, citing five people who worked for Isaly between 2000 and 2015, including one male investment professional.
Isaly’s former assistant, Delilah Burke, told STATNews that she once found a “flesh-colored vibrator” sitting inside Isaly’s briefcase after he asked her to retrieve some files. Isaly then erupted in laughter, the report said.
“The vibrator thing is when I quit,” Burk told the publication. “It was just, ‘You’re disgusting. I’m leaving. This is it.’’
Isaly also liked to “sprinkle his to-do lists … with dirty jokes and cryptic setups that would expose Burke to something lewd on the internet,” including asking her to look up “kit kat shuffle,’’ a euphemism for masturbation, the report said.
Isaly, who has denied the allegations, claimed the reporter failed to adequately investigate whether his disability made it impossible for him to have done the things described.
But Judge Swain determined that the only real allegation against that required Isaly to use his hands was the pair of breast implants he allegedly palpated “like stress balls during idle conversation.”
On that topic, Swain noted that Isaly “discussed feeling the texture of such implants” in am extensive interview with STATNews, and that the reporter on the story had observed Isaly using his hands to eat with a fork.
Isaly’s lawyers say he intends to appeal the ruling. “The article didn’t just fail to tell its readers that Mr. Isaly is a quadriplegic,” said the statement by lawyers with Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP. “It falsely suggested that Mr. Isaly’s only disability involved being ‘paralyzed’ and without ‘the use of his legs’ when in fact his disability is substantially greater and prevents him from doing many of the acts of which he has been falsely accused.”
WeWork sells control of China business to private equity firm
WeWork has sold a majority stake in its China business to a private-equity firm in the troubled office-sharing startup’s latest effort to cut costs.
The deal announced Thursday will hand control of the unit to Trustbridge Partners, which led a new $200 million investment for WeWork China. Trustbridge operating partner Michael Jiang will lead the unit as acting CEO, WeWork said.
WeWork will keep a minority stake in the Chinese business and collect an annual fee for the WeWork brand, the company said.
“Having watched the execution of WeWork in Greater China over the past few years, and the growing need for flexibility accelerated by the pandemic, Trustbridge firmly believes the demand that WeWork provides will only continue to increase,” Feng Ge, managing partner at Shanghai-based Trustbridge, said in a statement.
WeWork has moved aggressively to slash costs and focus on its core office-rental business since a series of scandals involving ex-CEO Adam Neumann derailed its plans for an initial public offering last year.
The New York-based company said last month that it had almost cut its cash burn rate in half and snagged a new $1.1 billion financing commitment from Japanese investment giant SoftBank, its biggest financial backer.
WeWork has more than 800 office locations around the world, including 103 buildings across China, according to its website. Its Chinese tenants include tech giants Tencent and Alibaba, according to CNBC.
With Post wires
Novavax stock soars after start of coronavirus vaccine trial
Novavax’s stock price surged Friday after the biotech firm started a key late-stage trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine.
Shares in the Maryland-based company soared nearly 11 percent to $113.56 following its Thursday announcement that it kicked off the Phase 3 study in the United Kingdom, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The trial aimed at proving whether Novavax’s vaccine is safe and effective will enroll up to 10,000 people over the next four to six weeks, the company said. The participants will range in age from 18 to 84 years old, with half getting two shots of the vaccine, known as NVX-CoV2373, and the other half receiving a placebo.
“With a high level of [coronavirus] transmission observed and expected to continue in the UK, we are optimistic that this pivotal Phase 3 clinical trial will enroll quickly and provide a near-term view of NVX-CoV2373’s efficacy,” Dr. Gregory M. Glenn, Novavax’s president of research and development, said in a statement.
Data from the trial will support Novavax’s applications for regulatory approval in the UK, the European Union and other countries, Glenn added. Novavax said it plans to publish the study’s full protocol in the coming days.
Phase 3 trials are currently underway in the US and Europe for four other potential coronavirus vaccines, including candidates from AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Pfizer and Moderna have said they could know by October or November whether their vaccines work, but US officials don’t expect a shot to be widely available until next year.
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