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By Ben Penn
Sept. 26 — The Labor Department will conduct a wide-ranging review of Wells Fargo’s labor and employment practices, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said.
The DOL is the latest government agency to probe Wells Fargo for wrongdoing, following the bank’s multimillion-dollar settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It also faces a lawsuit from employees alleging the company’s chief executive officer orchestrated a sales scheme that fueled unethical behavior (see related story).
“Given the serious nature of the allegations, the recent actions of our Federal partners, and recent media reports, I have directed enforcement agencies within the Department to conduct a top-to-bottom review of cases, complaints, or violations concerning Wells Fargo over the last several years,” Perez said in a Sept. 26 letter to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Warren and other Democratic senators had urged the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division to investigate the bank for possible overtime violations.
Rather than merely initiate a WHD audit, Perez called for all other applicable DOL enforcement agencies—the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs—to take action.
Those agencies plus the DOL Office of the Solicitor will establish a working group “to ensure a thorough and expedient review” of Wells Fargo, Perez wrote.
The department also moved to inform employees about their legal protections with a new page on its website.
Wells Fargo “doesn't have a comment at this time,” company spokeswoman Jennifer Dunn told Bloomberg BNA via e-mail.
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Text of the letter is available at http://src.bna.com/iUw.
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