OSHA Awards Fired Bank Manager $5.4M, Rehire Following ‘Abrupt’ Dismissal for Whistleblowing

Wells Fargo’s bad treatment of a bank manager turned out to be expensive.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Monday ordered the company to pay about $5.4 million in back pay, compensatory damages, and attorneys’s fees to the manager.

OSHA found that the manager was “abruptly dismissed” after reporting suspected illegal behavior by two banks in the Los Angeles area to his superiors and a company hotline. He was told he had 90 days to find a new position at Wells Fargo, and when he was unsuccessful, he was terminated. He has been unable to find work in banking since his termination in 2010.

His warnings were a contributing factor in the termination, the government found.

His whistleblowing activities were protected under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, OSHA said.

Wells Fargo can appeal the order before the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges, but such action does not stay the preliminary reinstatement order.

P.S. Thanks to Jon Hyman of the Ohio Employer’s Law Blog for featuring this post in his
April 7 weekly roundup.

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