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Wells Fargo Agrees to $7.8 Million to Settle Discrimination Claims

Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Wells Fargo has agreed to pay $7.8 million in back wages to thousands of Black and female job applicants. According to the DOL, Wells Fargo discriminated against 34,193 Black applicants for banking, customer sales and service, and administrative support roles in the United States. The DOL also found that the bank had discriminated against 308 female applicants for administrative support positions. No details were provided about the alleged discrimination in hiring. Federal contractors are banned under federal law from discriminating based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Wells Fargo did not admit liability in agreeing to resolve the allegations against it. A bank spokesman asserted that the allegations relate to a routine review of hiring dates from six to 10 years ago in limited locations. The review revealed that Black individuals were selected for hire at lower rates than other individuals for teller, customer service representative, and personal and phone banker positions. Hispanic individuals were selected at a higher number based on the demand for Spanish speaking employees in certain positions. According to Wells Fargo’s spokesperson, changes have been made to correct the issue including centralizing recruiting, creating a recruitment team focused on diverse talent, and working with diverse organizations such as HBCUs (Historically Black College and Universities). The bank has also agreed to extend 580 job offers to applicants impacted by the alleged bias. Wells Fargo previously settled bias claims in 2015 and 2019.