Wells Fargo ordered to reinstate whistleblower, pay $577K in back wages, damages
The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered Wells Fargo to reinstate and pay $577,500 in back wages, damages and other fees to a former branch manager in Pomona who was terminated after she reported conduct by at least three "private bankers" working under her that she reasonably believed to be bank, wire and mail fraud. Investigators with the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that Wells Fargo terminated the employee turned whistleblower in September 2011 because of concerns raised that the bank's private bankers were opening customer accounts and enrolling customers in bank products without their knowledge, consent or appropriate disclosures. OSHA also found Wells Fargo fired the branch manager for reporting violations of one or more of the enumerated consumer financial laws implemented and enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The former branch manager's reports to Wells Fargo Bank were determined to be protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, and were determined to be at least a contributing factor in her termination.