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Wells Fargo Report: No Systematic Retaliation Against Whistleblowers

April 10, 2017

Perhaps one of the more surprising revelations to come out of Wells Fargo’s 110-page report on its monumental sales scandal is the statement that the internal investigation found no evidence that the bank had retaliated against employees who reported apparent sales practices abuses. In all, 5,300 employees were fired over the sales practice abuses.


  • While the bank is still following up on reports of ‘whistleblower retaliation’, Stuart Baskin of Shearman & Sterling, who led the investigation, said he didn’t expect the above conclusions to change. The bank’s comprehensive review of terminated employees included the following:
  • The known wrongful termination lawsuits filed by at least 5 former Wells Fargo employees.
  • The 11 ex-employees who were publicly identified as whistleblowers in media reports.
  • The 9 employees who reported being fired after calling Wells Fargo's ethics line phone number to submit tips about unethical sales practices
  • The nearly 900 employees who were fired within a year after calling in a tip to the bank’s ethics hotline or within a month of the bank disclosing its settlement with the CFPB


A footnote to the internal report, which was commissioned by Wells Fargo's board and prepared by law firm Shearman & Sterling, noted the following:


"Based on a limited review completed to date, Shearman & Sterling has not identified a pattern of retaliation against Community Bank employees who complained about sales pressures or practices," a footnote in the report said.