Former Wells Fargo Employees Allege Fraud, Deceit Over Mass Firings

Should a 30-year-old charge for shoplifting a hairbrush cost you your job? That's what happened to one Wells Fargo employee—even though she had previously disclosed the incident and had passed two previous background checks with the company in the past. Now, she and other employees are filing a lawsuit against the bank, alleging fraud, deceit, conspiracy, and violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Here's why this case is important for everyone to know about.

Using Expunged Records And Dismissals As A Reason To Fire People

In 2008, a federal law was enacted that barred banks and mortgage lenders from employing people convicted of crimes of "dishonesty." Because of that law, all current and incoming employees were required to disclose any prior crimes, including minor ones. Many of them had already done so, like the woman who disclosed that she had stolen a hairbrush in 1982. She, like others involved in the suit, was told that the crime wasn't the sort that would bar her from working in the industry, and she continued on in the company's employment without incident. 

In 2012, however, Wells Fargo hired a new company to conduct background checks, and this is where the bank's actions suddenly became a bit murky. Using data from the new company, the bank summarily fired some of its longest working, best employees—even if the employee had previously revealed the crime and even if the criminal charge had been dismissed or expunged from their official record.

In one case, a woman whose expunged record was used against her, received a promotion and a 5% raise earlier in the day and was fired by the end of it. It took her more than a year to find new employment. In another case, an expunged record was used to fire a 10-year employee who had actually disclosed the incident anyhow when he was hired. 

Using Any Excuse In The Book To Fire The Highly Paid

Expungement, however, means that legally-speaking, the crime never happened. Once a record has been expunged, all record of the arrest or conviction is supposed to be erased. Unfortunately, it's not a perfect system, so expunged records do come to light from time to time. However, an expunged record wouldn't bar an employee from working at the bank.

Even in other cases, very old and very minor crimes, like the hairbrush theft, would be eligible for a waiver from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which oversees the implementation of the federal law. The employees involved weren't given a chance to file for the waiver, nor were they even told that they could apply for one before being fired. 

The lawsuit points out that, rather suspiciously, the several hundred employees who were fired in several states were exemplary, many of them career employees who had decades into their jobs and were approaching retirement, had just received promotions, or were about to receive large bonuses. The lawsuit alleges that the firings were actually a pretext by the bank to cut costs.

This sort of thing happens in different ways in different industries, but the general idea is that a company that wants to avoid paying large bonuses, wants to bring in less-costly replacements who will accept a lower salary than their fired counterparts, or wants to avoid paying out full retirement benefits to someone, will find a pretext to fire those employees—no matter how small.

If you suspect that you were the victim of such an action, don't sit back and allow the company to take advantage of you. Contact an attorney for assistance. A firm such as Richard Glazer Law Office can provide more information.

About Me

Always Be Prepared for Accidents at Your Apartment Complex

I live in a big city, and apartment-living is the only affordable option for me. I learned my lesson about apartment complex injuries one day when I tripped over a pothole in the parking lot, fell, and suffered a concussion. I didn't think about anything else at the time other than getting to the nearest emergency room. Once I returned home and was ready to report the injury to my building owner, they had already filled the pothole and denied that it ever existed! Now, when I notice any dangers in my complex, I take photos in advance to prove they existed to help myself and others later if they suffer an injury. I am now very determined to help others who suffer these injuries, so I decided to start a blog to share accident laws and tips that I am learning. Come back often to learn your rights!

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