DOL claims Wells Fargo is blocking investigation into employee treatment

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor is charging Wells Fargo & Co.’s lawyer with hindering its investigation into the bank’s treatment of workers and insinuating she has ties to President-elect Donald Trump that allow her to do so, reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • DOL says Atty. Tammy McCutchen tried to keep its investigator from accessing documents and interviewing staff at the bank’s Concord, CA, facility. The investigation follows last year’s revelation that Wells Fargo coerced employees into opening fake accounts in customers’ names to meet sales quotas.
  • McCutcheon disputes DOL’s accusations. The agency says she replied to its request for cooperation in the probe by implying that the Trump administration’s pending takeover of the White House was justification for not cooperating.

Dive Insight:

It never pays for employers to refuse to cooperate with an investigation or audit — not even by implication. This gives the appearance of a cover-up, which can raise suspicions of guilt and prompt further probes into a matter.

At its core, the Wells Fargo scandal is an issue with company culture and depiction of values. There are some experts who believe the HR-compliance link is not strong enough; it is likely that link will be tested often in the new year.
Filed Under: Legal Corporate News
Top image credit: Flickr; Mike Mozart