DOL Targets Full Weight of Its Enforcement Authority On Wells Fargo

September 30, 2016

In response to a letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Labor Secretary Thomas Perez has directed every DOL enforcement agency "to conduct a top-to-bottom review of cases, complaints, or violations concerning Wells Fargo over the last several years," despite finding very few violations in the past.  DOL is the latest federal agency to investigate Wells Fargo, following the bank's settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a recent lawsuit from employees who were fired or demoted after refusing to open unauthorized accounts.  Besides the Wage and Hour Division, the Employee Benefits Security Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs plan to conduct reviews.  DOL also has set up a new page on its website specifically to inform Wells Fargo employees about their legal protections and enable them to file complaints.  After the DOL announcement, Sen. Warren urged that "every other federal agency with jurisdiction in this matter should follow DOL's lead and promptly determine whether Wells Fargo and its senior executives should be prosecuted or otherwise sanctioned."