On September 22, 2016, two former employees filed a class action complaint against Wells Fargo in the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles, contending that Wells Fargo implemented a fraudulent scheme to increase its stock price by aggressively pushing employees to open new accounts to increase their “cross-sell numbers” while the bank did not have appropriate mechanisms in place to determine whether the new accounts were legitimate or not. Employees were allegedly instructed to ensure that Wells Fargo customers have an average of eight accounts per person regardless of whether the customers needed those accounts. The average bank has three products per customer. This scheme was purportedly executed among all branches nationwide.
To reach this goal, plaintiffs contend that Wells Fargo placed unrealistic and impossible cross-sell quotas on their bankers. Employees who did not reach their quotas were required to work hours beyond their shift without compensation, and were allegedly threatened with demotion and/or termination. In order to perpetrate the scheme, plaintiffs contend that Wells Fargo fired employees who did not meet the quotas in order to “motivate” or encourage employees to take fraudulent and illegal actions to increase “cross-sells.”
The named plaintiffs bring the action on their own behalf and on behalf of all “aggrieved persons,” as well as all other persons similarly situated within the class of employees who worked for Wells Fargo in the last ten years, or who continue to work for Wells Fargo, and were demoted, retaliated against and/or terminated for failure to meet the internal “solutions” quota. Plaintiffs assert causes of action for (1) Wrongful Termination/Retaliation In Violation Of California Labor Code § 1102.5; (2) Wrongful Termination In Violation Of Public Policy; (3) Violation Of Business & Professional Code §§ 17200 and 17203 – Unlawful Business Practices; and (4) Failure To Pay Wages. Plaintiffs seek total damages of at least $2.6 billion.
The action is captioned Alexander Polonsky v. Wells Fargo Bank & Company, Case No. BC634475 and the complaint can be viewed by clicking here.