Whistleblowers are defined as those individuals who, without permission, reveal private or sensitive information about an institution, often motivated by a commitment to the public interest. But did you know that a whistleblower had to be rehired by the company they reported for fraud?
The federal government ordered Wells Fargo to rehire an employee who reported fraud from within the company and pay him $5.4 million in damages.
Why Was Wells Fargo Required to Rehire the Whistleblower?
A wealth management group manager who was let go after calling the bank’s ethics hotline to investigate possible fraud must be rehired by Wells Fargo.
The bank was ordered to rehire the worker and compensate him for missing income on Monday by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA claims that the guy who worked for Wells Fargo’s wealth management division in the Los Angeles area was abruptly fired after reporting two of his subordinates for suspected bank mail and wire fraud on separate occasions.
A Wells Fargo representative told Consumerist that the bank’s fake account scandal, in which staff members opened more than two million unlawful accounts to satisfy strict sales goals, is unrelated to the whistleblower’s reports and OSHA’s directive. According to OSHA, the event differs from the controversy surrounding the bogus account.
The individual was informed in 2010 that he had 90 days to find a new job with the organization after reporting the assaults. He was let go when he was unable to complete the task. Since being fired, the individual claims he has been unable to secure employment in banking.
Even though his activities were protected by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), an OSHA inquiry determined that disclosing the suspected fraud was at least one of the contributing factors in his termination. (Source: Consumerist)
The Conditions of the Federal Government
The manager must be rehired, and Wells Fargo must also pay him back the wages he lost while not employed in the banking sector. The estimated value of those funds is $5.4 million.
All employees must be informed of their SOX whistleblower protections by the corporation. The Office of Administrative Law Judges of the DOL is where Wells Fargo can appeal the ruling.
According to a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, the business takes the complaints of current and past workers seriously.
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.Wells Fargo Representative
Monday’s order is just one whistleblower issue Wells Fargo is facing.
Following calls to the bank’s ethics hotline, several former workers filed lawsuits against the bank alleging unfair termination, prompting lawmakers to call the Department of Labor and request an investigation into the company’s conduct. The DOL also looked into claims that the bank had broken the law by failing to pay employees overtime due to these allegations.
The Securities and Exchange Commission also launched an inquiry against the bank. Although the investigation’s focus was unclear, it may be connected to Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s request that the SEC investigate whether Wells’ violated federal whistleblower protection rules after employees claimed they were fired for disclosing the bank’s wrongdoings. (Source: Consumerist)
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