Wells Fargo's whistleblower woes keep getting worse. The bank has been ordered to rehire a wealth advisor it fired in 2010—and pay him US$5.4 to boot.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a unit of the Department of Labor (DOL) in the US, said that in firing the tipster advisor, Wells Fargo broke federal whisteblower rules that protect employees who inform supervisors, regulators, or government officials of legal violations from retaliation by their employer. The bank reportedly intends to appeal OSHA’s ruling.
The name of the employee, who the agency said had not been able to find work since the termination, has not been released.
According to another recent report from CNN, OSHA is considering awarding a similar settlement to Claudia Ponce de Leon, a former Wells Fargo general manager who got fired for reporting unauthorized account openings within the bank in 2011—long before a devastating scandal involving similar activity damaged the bank's reputation.
In a December 2016 letter, the regulator said “[t]here is reasonable cause to believe” that Wells-Fargo contravened both Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank in terminating Ponce de Leon in 2011. Though OSHA has yet to decide, it says that she likely deserves her job back.
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