Wells Fargo Allegedly Faked Diversity Initiatives With False Interviews

Several workers allege that Wells Fargo consistently called on women and people of color to document its diversity initiatives in its hiring methods, despite having already offered the roles to other candidates. 

The bank has a long-standing, unofficial policy requiring employers to interview “diverse” individuals, which the bank defines as women and people of color, for available positions.

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Several staffers, however, began to notice candidates were frequently interviewed for roles that were not open at the time.

A Recruiter

Joe Bruno, a longtime executive at Wells Fargo, told Action News, “You feel extremely uneasy being on the other end of the table during an interview when you know the applicant has zero chance of winning the job.”

“These individuals on the other side of the table are genuine people. They have households. I am a family man. It’s simply wrong.” 

He reported that after voicing his worries to his superiors, Bruno was fired.

Then, in August 2021, the 58-year-old senior management was terminated in retaliation for alerting higher-ups that “false interviews” were “improper, morally wrong, and ethically wrong,” as reported by the New York Times. 

The retired executive is one of seven present and past Wells Fargo workers who claim the corporation encouraged them to interview people from various backgrounds for positions already filled.

According to the source, five additional employees were also aware of the policy or participated in its implementation. 

The interviews appeared to be more of an effort to document diversity initiatives on paper, maybe as a precaution against an audit of Wells Fargo’s recruiting procedures, according to the employees. 

Executives of the bank urged staff to adhere to its hiring policies and stated they do not condone the alleged behavior detailed by employees. 

Statements

Wells Fargo informed the Washington Examiner in a statement that it couldn’t verify these reports after investigations.

Wells Fargo previously paid $7.8 million in back wages, plus interest, to settle discrimination claims involving its employment practices.

The money was made as part of a settlement reached with the Department of Labor to satisfy charges that the corporation was prejudiced against 34,193 black candidates.

The banking corporation was also sued in 2013 by black financial consultants for race prejudice.

This forced the bank to pay roughly $36 million and agree to “improve employment, earnings, and development opportunities for African American money managers and financial advisor trainees.” 

According to Burton, prior to the 2017 settlement, Wells Fargo officials began pushing recruiters to interview at least one woman or racial minority for each open position.

She stated this regulation was never approved and only applied to specific high-level positions with salaries above $100,000. 

Bruno stated the mock interviews were for various occupations, including some below the minimum income criteria. Other bank executives refuted these claims. 

According to the source, 81 percent of Wells Fargo’s 30,000 new hires in 2021 were not white men. It is unclear how many of these employees were paid more than $100,000.

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