Earlier this year, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $35 million to more than 500 African-American employees to settle a lawsuit that alleged the large bank routinely favored its white employees.
In the lawsuit, six black brokers from Wells Fargo alleged the bank regularly showed a nationwide pattern of racial discrimination. They say that black employees were less likely than their white colleagues to be selected for advisor teams or to be successors, and were in turn more likely to be assigned to branches that made less money. The suit also alleges that larger client accounts were more often assigned to non-black advisors.
A spokesperson from Wells Fargo said the company does not agree with the allegations or accept any fault in the settlement, but that it simply wished to put the matter behind the company for the sake of its clients, employees and investors.
A problem in the banking industry
Wells Fargo is not the first major bank to be accused of racial or gender discrimination in recent years. In 2013, Merrill Lynch settled a lawsuit with black brokers to the tune of $160 million, and then paid another $39 million to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit with female employees. In 2016, a black employee in Merrill Lynch’s Indianapolis branch filed another racial discrimination claim against the company.
In 2007, Morgan Stanley paid a $16 million settlement to black brokers, and just last year its wealth management department was sued by a group of black employees who claimed their compensation and career opportunities were determined in part by their racial background.
It is illegal for employers to engage in racial discrimination in any form in the United States. If you believe you have been discriminated against in your workplace, meet with an experienced Dallas attorney at Whistleblower Law for Managers right away.