Wells Fargo Agrees to Pay $7.8 Million in Back Wages After U.S. Department of Labor Alleges Hiring Discrimination
DALLAS, TX – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has entered into a conciliation agreement with Wells Fargo Bank N.A. in which the bank has agreed to pay $7,800,000 in back wages and interest to resolve allegations of hiring discrimination.
OFCCP alleged that Wells Fargo discriminated against 34,193 African American applicants for banking, customer sales and service, and administrative support positions at U.S. locations nationwide and 308 female applicants for administrative support positions, in violation of Executive Order 11246. The Executive Order prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.
In addition to paying the back wages and interest, the employer agreed to provide 580 affected applicants with job opportunities as tellers, personal bankers, customer sales and service representatives, and administrative support positions. Wells Fargo will also take steps to ensure its personnel practices comply with federal requirements. While not admitting liability in the investigation, Wells Fargo volunteered to enter into the conciliation agreement and to enhance future compliance proactively. The enhanced compliance section in the agreement covers employees in retail bank branch Affirmative Action Programs (AAPs) and 42 Functional Affirmative Action Programs (FAAPs) for 2020. FAAPs enable federal supply and service contractors to develop AAPs based on business or functional units, thereby making it easier for contractors to organize and analyze data, identify issues, establish clear lines of responsibility for implementing their AAPs, and monitor progress.
In November 2018, OFCCP launched an effort to resolve supply and service compliance evaluations at the earliest stage possible with corporate-wide compliance and issued a directive establishing Early Resolution Procedures. These procedures allow OFCCP and contractors with multiple establishments to cooperatively implement corporate-wide compliance with OFCCP’s regulatory requirements and efficiently resolve issues. This agreement with Wells Fargo resulted from the Early Resolution Procedures.
“The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs is satisfied that Wells Fargo has pursued an early resolution conciliation agreement, and addressed the issues found in our review,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Director Craig E. Leen. “OFCCP’s Early Resolution Procedures program helps ensure prompter and broader relief for America’s workforce by allowing contractors facing a potential violation to proactively correct such violations and ensure future companywide compliance.”
“We appreciate Wells Fargo’s cooperation to resolve these issues,” said Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Regional Director Melissa Speer, in Dallas, Texas. “Together, the Department and Wells Fargo will ensure the bank will proactively take steps to comply with federal hiring and equal employment opportunity laws.”
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, Wells Fargo provides products and services under contract with many federal departments and agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Wells Fargo operates 7,400 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs and offices in 31 countries and territories, and employs approximately 263,000 people worldwide.
In addition to Executive Order 11246, OFCCP enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974. These laws, as amended, make it illegal for contractors and subcontractors doing business with the federal government to discriminate in employment because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. In addition, contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their compensation or the compensation of others subject to certain limitations, and may not retaliate against applicants or employees for engaging in protected activities. These laws also require that federal contractors provide equal employment opportunity through affirmative action. For more information, please call OFCCP’s toll-free helpline at 800-397-6251 or visit https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.