Wells Fargo accused of retaliating against employees in fraught meeting

by Ryan Smith25 Apr 2019

Wells Fargo employees accused the bank of retaliating against workers during a contentious shareholder meeting that was repeatedly interrupted by protests.

At the Tuesday meeting, some Wells Fargo workers said that the bank continues to retaliate against employees who question the ethics of its business practices, according to a CNN report.

Wells Fargo mortgage underwriter Brian Jackson told interim CEO Allen Parker that he was retaliated against for taking family leave and making ethics complaints. Jackson said he was “subjected to harassment” and “humiliation,” CNN reported. He also said that confidential details about his personal situation were released. Jackson told Parker that he had “heard many more stories of retaliation.”

Parker said that Wells Fargo has an “absolutely ironclad” anti-retaliation policy. “It simply will not be tolerated if it comes to our attention,” he said.

However, the bank has been sued in recent years by employees alleging that they were fired for reporting ethics violations. Last year, former Wells Fargo fraud investigator Matthew Valles sued the bank for firing him after he complained that it had mishandled dozens of fraud investigations. Wells Fargo has also been ordered by federal regulators to rehire whistleblowers, CNN reported.

The accusations of retaliation weren’t the only sour notes at the shareholder meeting. The meeting was repeatedly interrupted by protests, and Parker asked many shareholders to leave following outbursts.

“Wells Fargo, you cannot be trusted,” one unidentified shareholder said, according to CNN. And activist investor Bruce Marks demanded that Wells Fargo’s board be “held accountable” for its numerous scandals.

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave the meeting if you cannot allow me to finish and continue in a respectful manner,” Parker told the crowd.

Despite the protests, all of the bank’s directors were reelected, CNN reported.