A “Pressure-Cooker Culture”
The CNN article, which appeared on September 30, characterized the sales environment as Wells Fargo as a “pressure-cooker culture” that demanded workers to work overtime without the proper compensation. According to the article, this wage theft typically occurred on what were known as “call nights.” On these nights, workers had to put in extra hours trying to sell bank customers credit cards and other products in order to meet what were termed “unrealistic” sales goals.
One employee said that if he didn’t hit his numbers, the managers of the bank branch where he worked would force he and other sales agents to work after hours cold-calling customers – for no pay.
Approximately 5,300 employees were fired after reports of a massive scandal involving the bank came out. The company was rocked by allegations that employees created approximately 2 million fake bank accounts and credit cards – without the knowledge of customers – in an effort to meet their onerous sales quotas. The Labor Department recently announced that it is conducting a “top-to-bottom” review of all claims and cases involving Wells Fargo over the last few years.
Alleged FLSA Violations
Wells Fargo is being accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which mandates that employees who work more than 40 hours a week be paid time-and-a-half for those extra hours. One of the employees quoted by CNN said he was not allowed to input any hours he worked past 5:30 p.m. into the company’s online system. If he did, he said his managers would simply go in and change his online time card.
When employees complained, according to the article, the response they received was simple – deal with it or get another job.