(Adds updated statement from Wells Fargo)
By Pete Schroeder
April 3 The federal government has ordered Wells
Fargo to reinstate a former bank manager who lost his
job after reporting suspected fraudulent behavior at the bank.
The Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health
Administration (OSHA) announced on Monday that the bank must
rehire the employee, as well as pay back wages, compensatory
damages and attorneys' fees totaling $5.4 million.
OSHA concluded that the manager was "abruptly" forced to
leave a Los Angeles branch of the bank in 2010, after he told
superiors he suspected two of his subordinates of bank, mail and
wire fraud. The manager also called the bank's ethics hot line.
OSHA determined his whistleblowing was "at least a contributing
factor in his termination." The manager was not named.
The bank is planning to request a full hearing on the OSHA
decision before the Labor Department's Office of Administrative
Law Judges. Such a step will not halt the initial reinstatement
“We take seriously the concerns of current and former team
members. This decision is a preliminary order and to date there
has been no hearing on the merits of this case. We disagree
with the findings and will be requesting a full hearing of the
matter,” said Vince Scanlon, a bank spokesman.
According to OSHA, the manager had previously received
positive job performance appraisals, but in 2010 he was told he
had 90 days to find a new job at the bank after being dismissed
as a manager. He was unable to do so and was terminated, and has
not found work in banking since.
The manager worked in Wells Fargo's wealth management group,
according to the bank.
The OSHA decision is unrelated to the bank's woes
surrounding the creation of potentially millions of fake
accounts by employees looking to hit sales goals. In that case,
the bank has also come under scrutiny over whether it punished
whistleblowers that notified superiors of wrongdoing involving
Wells Fargo employees.
(Reporting by Pete Schroeder; Editing by Tom Brown and Steve