Wells Fargo recently came under fire after employees exposed a series of scandals. Accused of charging customers in New York and elsewhere for unnecessary products, the company is also facing another onslaught of accusations, this time for workplace retaliation. Several employees claim that they were fired for whistleblowing.
Back in July 2017, Wells Fargo admitted that it had charged hundreds of thousands of customers for unnecessary car insurance. The bank was able to do this by purchasing collateral protection for borrowers, which was permitted if the borrower failed to purchase liability coverage. However, Wells Fargo charged around 570,000 auto loan customers for coverage, even though they had already purchased insurance from a third party. Approximately 20,000 customers had their motor vehicles repossessed at least partly because of the high cost of the insurance they had been forced to buy.
Many former employees claim that they were wrongfully fired for calling Wells Fargo's ethics hotline about this and other scandals, including complaints about fake accounts and improper mortgage rates. Although the bank disclosed that it is dealing with a number of retaliation claims, it has been tightlipped about whether these accusations might be true. It has denied retaliation in at least one suit brought by a former mortgage consultant.
Whistleblowers play an important role in protecting consumers from companies. Unfortunately, when New York businesses care more about their bottom line than their customers, whistleblowers are mistreated. Employees who have been wrongly terminated for whistleblowing can seek compensation for lost wages and related damages by pursuing a claim against their employer that, when successful, can also help achieve a better environment for both workers and consumers.
Source: wday.com, "More Wells Fargo workers allege retaliation for whistleblowing", Nov. 7, 2017