Company Facing Intense Scrutiny for Allegedly Creating Approximately 2 Million Fake Credit Card and Banking Accounts in Customers’ Names
DALLAS (Sept. 30, 2016) – The national law firm of Baron & Budd reports that the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is investigating Wells Fargo for both unpaid overtime wage issues and alleged retaliation against employee whistleblowers. The DOL issued a statement on Sept. 26, 2016 announcing a “top-to-bottom” investigation of all complaints, cases and alleged violations involving Wells Fargo it has received in recent years.
The DOL is looking into whether Wells Fargo committed a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying all overtime wages it owed to employees who worked overtime in order to meet sales quotas. The FLSA requires employers to pay employees overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.
The DOL is also investigating allegations that the company unfairly terminated or otherwise retaliated against employees who voiced their concerns regarding Wells Fargo’s questionable sales tactics. Reports surfaced earlier in September about Wells Fargo employees creating fake banking and credit card accounts in customers’ names without their authorization. According to several news sources, approximately 2 million bogus accounts were created. The company announced it had fired approximately 5,300 workers due to the scandal.
However, many employees claim they were terminated because they voiced their concerns over the tactics. One such employee told CNN that he called the Wells Fargo ethics line and also sent an e-mail to the company’s human resources department after he refused to open bogus bank accounts. He said he was fired eight days later, and told the reason for his termination was “tardiness.”
A law named the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, or SOX, was passed to help prevent corporate financial misconduct by, amongst other things, protecting whistleblowers from retaliation for complaining of corporate financial misconduct. Employees and former employees who were retaliated against for complaining of financial misconduct, such as the opening of fake bank accounts, may be entitled to significant monetary compensation under SOX.
“These are incredibly serious allegations, and we applaud the Department of Labor for acting swiftly to start a through investigation,” said Allen Vaught, manager of the Employment Law Section of the national law firm of Baron & Budd. “We are ready to help any Wells Fargo employees who feel they have been treated unfairly, whether it is because they were not paid the proper amount of overtime or fired because they stood up for what’s right.”
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The law firm of Baron & Budd, P.C., with offices in Dallas, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Austin and Los Angeles, is a nationally recognized law firm with a nearly 40-year history of “Protecting What’s Right” for people, communities and businesses harmed by negligence. Baron & Budd’s size and resources enable the firm to take on large and complex cases. The firm represents individuals and government and business entities in areas as diverse as dangerous pharmaceuticals and medical devices, environmental contamination, the Gulf oil spill, financial fraud, overtime violations, deceptive advertising, automotive defects, trucking accidents, nursing home abuse, and asbestos-related illnesses such as mesothelioma.