Banking giant Wells Fargo must reinstate a former manager who was fired after he reported possible fraud happening within the organization. The order comes from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is forcing the bank to pay the employee back wages, attorneys’ fees and other monetary damages in amounts totaling more than $5 million.
According to OSHA officials, Wells Fargo abruptly terminated the man’s employment at a Los Angeles branch in 2010, shortly after he notified a supervisor that he thought other employees had engaged in wire and mail fraud. He also made a complaint using the company’s ethics hotline available to employees. In its review of the man’s complaint to OSHA, federal officials found that the bank unfairly fired him.
Employee had no previous issues at bank
Contributing to the agency’s decision was the fact that the employee had a strong work record at Wells Fargo, including several positive job performance reviews. However, after raising his concerns, supervisors informed him that he had 90 days to find a new job within the organization, as he was being terminated as a manager. He was let go entirely after he was unable to do so.
In response to the order, Wells Fargo’s attorneys announced that they would request a full hearing before the DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges. However, this action will not prohibit the man from returning to work immediately.
It appears that this case was a clear example of an organization retaliating against an employee for serving as a whistleblower. For more information on your legal rights and protections if you are aware of wrongdoing within a business, organization or public agency, speak with a skilled Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers right away.