In the first of what may prove to be many cases against Wells Fargo, which is currently under the spotlight for alleged banking fraud, USA Today has revealed that two of the bank’s former employees have filed for unfair dismissal.
Wells Fargo was fined $185 million by regulators earlier this month for fraudulently opening over two million deposit and credit card accounts that were allegedly not authorised by customers.
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Last week, Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was challenged by the Senate Banking Committee following the bank’s account-opening practices and for failing to make the senior executives involved surrender pay for their wrongdoings.
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In a suit filed in a California court, two former employees, Alexander Polonsky and Brian Zaghi, were reported by USA Today to have said they were amongst those wrongfully terminated because they “did not meet their impossible quotas” and were made an example of “so that all other employees would learn that they must engage in these fraudulent actions in order to meet the unrealistic sales quotes or else lose their jobs.”
According to Polonsky and Zaghi, Wells Fargo managers constantly monitored employees, discussing progress toward quotes up to four times a day. The former employees said that their goal was to achieve eight Wells Fargo accounts per household.
The fraudulent scam for which they are seeking class-action status, was meant “to squeeze employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers in order for the CEO to increase the value of Wells Fargo stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in his own pocket. Wells Fargo could then place the blame on thousands of $12 an hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made the CEO rich.”
The latest turn in events over the Wells Fargo case follows a call from US senators for an investigation into Wells Fargo’s employment practices to establish whether it had pressured workers to meet sales quotas with unpaid overtime, harassment and alleged threats of termination of employment.
The bank has fired around 5,300 employees as a result of the fake accounts and commencing early next year, is due to do away with certain quotas for top-level bank managers.