U.S. Labor Dept launches review of all Wells Fargo complaints

U.S. Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez on Monday pledged to conduct a review of alleged violations that the department has received concerning the company.

REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Wells Fargo Bank is shown in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S., September 26, 2016.

U.S. Labor Department Secretary Thomas Perez on Monday pledged to conduct a "top-to-bottom" review of all cases, complaints and other alleged violations that the department has received concerning Wells Fargo in recent years.

Perez's announcement, outlined in a Sept. 26 letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, comes after Warren and other Democrats asked the Labor Department last week to launch a probe into possible wage and working-hour law violations involving WellsFargo tellers and sales representatives who may have stayed late to meet sales quotas.

"Given the serious nature of the allegations, the recent actions of our federal partners, and recent media reports, I have directed enforcement agencies within the Department to conduct a top-to-bottom review," he wrote.

He also said the department has created a web page at www.dol.gov/wellsfargo to help ensure current and former Wells Fargo employees are aware of worker protection laws.

Wells Fargo was ordered to pay $190 million earlier this month to settle civil charges alleging its employees had set up about 2 million accounts and credit cards in customers' names that may not have been authorized.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman could not be immediately reached for comment after the close of business Monday but the company previously apologized to affected customers and said it fired 5,300 employees over "inappropriate sales conduct."

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleged that the opening of these accounts was driven by a system that financially rewarded employees.

Federal prosecutors have since launched a criminal probe into the issue, a source previously told Reuters.

The Labor Department polices a variety of things, including wage and hour rules, workplace safety, whistleblower protection laws and employee benefit plans.

Perez said that the department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has received a number of whistleblower complaints from Wells Fargo employees over the past five years.

Most of those complaints are concluded, with some settling and others found to have no merit, he said. Others are still currently under investigation, he added.

"I have asked OSHA to review the entire docket of both closed and open Wells Fargo cases since 2010," he said.

Senator Warren, in a statement to Reuters, welcomed the department's review.

"Every other federal agency with jurisdiction in this matter should follow DOL's lead and promptly determine whether Wells Fargo and its senior executives should be prosecuted or otherwise sanctioned," she said. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to U.S. Labor Dept launches review of all Wells Fargo complaints
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today