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Wells Fargo ordered to pay more than $22 million to fired whistleblower



The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered Wells Fargo & Co. to pay more than $22 million to a former executive the bank allegedly fired for reporting financial wrongdoing, the agency said Thursday.

Wells Fargo said in a statement that it plans to appeal.

OSHA found that Wells Fargo violated the Sarbanes-Oxley Act’s whistleblower provisions when it terminated the senior manager, who had repeatedly raised concerns to area managers and the corporate ethics line about conduct that the manager believed violated relevant financial laws, including wire fraud.

The executive expressed concern about being directed to falsify customer information and alleged that management engaged in price and rate collusion through exclusive trading, the statement said.

The employee, who was fired in 201

9, had filed a complaint with OSHA alleging retaliation under the Sarbanes Oxley Act, the 2002 law intended to improve auditing and disclosure.

OSHA said that after initially failing to provide a reason for the termination, Wells Fargo later said the manager was terminated as part of a restructuring process.

But investigators found the dismissal inconsistent with the bank’s treatment of other executives removed under the initiative.

The price includes back wages, interest, lost bonuses and benefits, back wages and damages.

Wells Fargo said in its statement that it disagreed with OSHA’s findings, which, it said, “were not based on an evidentiary hearing.”

“We intend to appeal to an administrative law judge. Wells Fargo has zero tolerance for retaliation, and employees are encouraged to report concerns that will be promptly and thoroughly investigated.”


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