Last month, we learned that in addition to pressuring employees to open millions of fake accounts in customers' names, Wells Fargo also had an unofficial program in place wherein the bank would come up with the shadiest possible ways to can people who spoke up about unethical sales practices. Sayeth one former human resources manager: "If this person was supposed to be at the branch at 8:30 a.m. and they showed up at 8:32 a.m, they would fire them." According to Reuters, at least five former employees filed suits or complaints with regulators between 2010 and 2014, alleging that they were fired for blowing the whistle, raising the whole "What did Wells know about these fake accounts and when did they know it and did they take the complaints seriously or try to cover them up and screw over the whistleblowers" angle.
Two of those former employees were personal bankers Judi Klosek and Yesenia Guitron, who filed a joint lawsuit in 2010, in which Klosek alleged the bank very classily "gave away her position while she was on disability to receive treatment for breast cancer," while Guitron claimed her managers responded to claims she witnessed unethical behavior by "falsifying a paper trail that purported to document her poor performance, forbidding her from taking family medical leave and firing her improperly." Also, this:
Guitron was told on numerous occasions by “Branch management” to unbutton her shirt to get more sales. One day Pam Rubio, the branch manager, sent her a text message requesting permission to open a package that Guitron had received from a customer, “an admirer,” and asking who it was from. Isook Park, the branch service manager, made comments to Guitron, including, “Call your boyfriends and have them all open accounts.” She asked Guitron questions about whom she was dating and whom she would bring to Christmas parties or bank events. On one occasion, Chris Jensen, another service manager, told Guitron, “Go and shake your skirt to the farm workers in the corner so we can get some accounts.” Guitron refused to engage in these practices and was offended by them. Prior to the time that Guitron began to work at the St. Helena branch, Liz Mendez, who worked there as a Personal Banker from December 2000 through January 2007, was told about once a week by Rubio, “Maybe if you unbutton that top button you’ll get more accounts.”
Marcela Franco, who was employed by Wells Fargo from November 2001 through January 2007, again, before Guitron began working there, heard Rubio make similar comments to other employees on multiple occasions. Matt Taylor, a single father who worked at the St. Helena branch as a financial consultant, was never encouraged to use his physical assets to achieve more sales.
While a judge dismissed Guitron's claims, saying the bank "was justified for firing her because she failed to meet sales quotas and refused to meet with management," she told Reuters "she feels vindicated by the sanctions" her former employer has been forced to pay since all this sh*t has come to light.