JPMorgan Settles Parental Leave Suit; La Croix Sales Plummet; Juul To Open Stores

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JPMorgan Chase & Co. associate Derek Rotondo stuck it to the man (or woman!) by filing suit against his employer alongside the American Civil Liberties Union. His bone to pick? The bank’s parental leave policy was biased against dads.

According to JPM policy, “primary caregivers” are granted a 16-week parental leave following the arrival of a new bundle of joy. But Rotondo’s superiors denied his request for time off on the grounds that only the child’s birth mother could be a primary caregiver. And this wasn’t the first time JPMorgan had denied the benefit.

That’s sexist!

The problem? JPMorgan’s employee handbook, and presumably at least one onboarding video made in 2001, indicates that the policy is gender neutral. Rotondo was mad as hell that his employer was reinforcing sex-based stereotypes.

So he fought the good fight not only for himself but on behalf of other wronged papas employed at the bank, winning $5M to be split amongst the fathers that were denied leave. JPM “thanked” Rotondo for bringing the issue to its attention but didn’t go so far as to admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.

If nothing else the case sent a message to employers who have antiquated parental leave policies, especially those that differentiate between a mother’s and father’s benefits.

Time Warner and Estee Lauder recently faced similar suits (with similar outcomes) and some companies, like Facebook, have just said f*ck it and begun offering the same parental leave benefits across the board.



Boomers have already blamed millennials for killing off plastic straws, “breastaurants” and cheap domestic beer.

The next target? La Croix. Shares of La Croix’s parent, National Beverage Corp, dropped 2.9% on Thursday after Guggenheim Partners suggested that the company’s sales were in a “free fall.” The fizzy flavored water company’s price target was cut from $45 to $36 dollars.

Guggenheim Analyst Laurent Grandet said that his company doesn’t believe that LaCroix can recover while in the hands of National Beverage, and cites increased competition, lack of innovation, and inexperience in managing a rapidly growing brand, as reasons for the brand’s bleak outlook. In other words: “I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

So what are they buying?

E-cigs! While La Croix struggles to win the hearts and minds of young professionals across the US, Juul is exploring the possibility of opening its own retail locations to counteract the recent crackdown by the FDA. Basically the Apple store for people who blow dank ass clouds.

Juul plans to use retail locations to gain valuable insight from shoppers that it can’t typically access from convenience store or smoke shop partners, while also giving current users the ability to test new products, and recycle old ones. As of now, rumor has it that Juul is targeting Texas as its testing ground, given the high smoking rate.






  • Okay, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news: Uber’s, um, “earnings,” if they can be called that, came in line with analysts expectations. The bad news: the company lost just over $1B for the quarter, mostly due to the cost of signing up restaurants for the Uber Eats program and onboarding costs associated with new drivers who most certainly aren’t employees


  • Carl Icahn is suing Occidental Petroleum following its $38B deal to acquire Anadarko Petroleum. Ichan has a $1.6B stake in Occidental. The activist investor is upset that the deal was done without a shareholder vote and the fact that his boy Buffett ponied up some cash for funding the effort. Uncle Carl’s fix? Shuffle board seats and force a sale of the combined company should the deal go through.


  • USA Today publisher Gannett is in talks to merge with Gatehouse Media. This deal would bring together the two largest newspaper companies in the US. Gannett isn’t sure if it wants to settle down yet, though, as the company has held similar discussions with Tribune Publishing and McClatchy.


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