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To a large extent, it seems, Wells Fargo had already fixed its whole alleged “interview a Black guy for a job he has no chance at getting” problem even before CEO Charlie Scharf put it on ice temporarily. Back in February, it decided to try doing away with the whole “posting a job and interviewing a diverse slate of candidates for positions you’ve already decided to promote someone internally for,” which will undoubtedly go a long way (although not all of the way) to saving applicants and managers the hassle (and, in the former case, false hope) that comes with the fake interview scheme (although it doesn’t seem to get any closer to what the Wells Rooney Rule was designed to achieve, which is a more diverse workforce).

Alas, this very un-Wellsian quick and simple fix came too late for the bank.

Federal prosecutors in New York have opened a criminal investigation into whether Wells Fargo violated federal laws by conducting sham interviews of minority and female job candidates…. The civil rights unit handling the Wells Fargo inquiry was created in November by Damian Williams, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Under federal law, for instance, it is a crime to interfere with “an applicant for private employment” in a way motivated by the applicant’s “race, color, religion or national origin.”

Of course, as ever, this is all the employees’ fault for not calling the “please fire me” whistleblower line.

In an interview on Monday, Bei Ling, Wells Fargo’s head of human resources, said she did not believe the fake interview practice was “a systematic issue.” Employees had not complained about it, she said.

“During these past eight months I can tell you I have never heard such a thing from the recruiting community,” Ms. Ling said. “I have never even heard the words ‘fake interview.’”

She added that there was no way for the bank to understand the scope of the problem unless employees spoke up. “We can’t act on things that we don’t know,” she said.

That attitude will no doubt do wonders during the anti-union drive to come.

Federal Prosecutors Open Criminal Inquiry of Wells Fargo’s Hiring Practices [NYT]

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