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New Jersey and California wrongful termination suits linked

For Wells Fargo, the hits just keep coming.

The banking giant used to have a fairly solid reputation for honesty in its financial dealings — but allegations of illegal acts, scams against customers, retaliatory acts and wrongful termination have tarnished the financial institution’s image pretty heavily in the last year or two.

It started with a few scattered allegations of malfeasance by employees who were instructed to keep sales quotas up — even if that meant opening and closing accounts in their customers’ names without permission.

Keeping the sales records high meant inflated stock prices, which translated into bonuses for the upper-level bank officers, so it didn’t matter to some of them how those quotas were achieved. Many employees resorted to unethical and illegal tactics to meet their daily quotas with not only the knowledge of their immediate superiors but their direct instruction to do so. Those that didn’t comply with the illegal instructions were demoted, humiliated in front of their peers, written up for unfair reasons and ultimately fired.

Then, when the company got caught, it purged about 5,300 employees for doing exactly what their managers had told them to do.

Ultimately, Wells Fargo had to pay up — losing around $185 million in penalties and refunds to customers and shareholders alike.

It has also been hit with a class action lawsuit filed in California in September, 2016, by former employees who say they were penalized and wrongfully terminated for not making the impossible sales quotas set for them through legal means. The former employees are seeking more than $2 billion for their wrongful terminations.

Now, two New Jersey women are adding their names to the list of alleged victims of wrongful termination. While both were highly-valued, career employees, they suddenly found themselves targeted for retaliation after they each reported misconduct to their supervisors or the ethics hotline. Suddenly, these long-term employees with stellar reputations of their own were written up three times in a row each. One was fired. The other chose early retirement instead.

Their allegations are essentially the same as the allegations made by the California employees — a fact that could help demonstrate how widespread the problem really was.

For more information on wrongful termination lawsuits or to discuss your own situation, talk to an attorney today.

Source: California Labor Law News, “California Plaintiffs Alleging Wrongful Termination Not Isolated Incidents,” Gordon Gibb, June 17, 2017