Senators Request Investigation into Wells Fargo Labor Practices

The senators specifically requested a look into the bank's potential violation of overtime laws

Senators Request Investigation into Wells Fargo Labor Practices
September 23, 2016

Eight senators have sent a letter to the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor requesting an investigation into Wells Fargo Bank's labor practices.

The embattled bank has become enveloped in a scandal over its sales practices. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf testified at a Senate panel hearing earlier this week, admitting to and apologizing for unethical and widespread sales tactics that led thousands of employees to illegally open as many as two million unauthorized customer accounts in order to meet sales goals. Although the bank fired 5,300 employees, most were at lower levels, and no senior executives were let go.

The letter asks for an inquiry into whether or not the bank "aggressively skirted" laws on overtime and did not properly compensate the tellers and associates who worked overtime to meet their sales quotas or the salaried associates mis-categorized as officers exempt from overtime.

A spokeswoman from Wells Fargo stated that it prides itself on "creating a positive environment for our team members, including market competitive compensation, career-development opportunities, a broad array of benefits, and a strong offering of work-life programs."

A Labor Department spokesman confirmed that the letter had been received and stated that the department will "take the concerns raised in the letter very seriously," though he was not at liberty to discuss any details regarding possible decisions on law enforcement.

According to the senators, the request was based on findings made by regulators of "a workplace characterized by stringent sales quotas and aggressive incentives imposed on its employees, and staggering neglect by management of the obvious consequences to consumers of those quotas and incentives."

The bank has experienced more and more scrutiny from both regulators and lawmakers after settling misconduct allegations and agreeing to pay a $185 million fine levied by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this month. There is now an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted into the case by federal prosecutors.

A House committee is scheduled to hold its own hearing at which Stumpf will testify on September 29.