Wells Fargo owes $97 million to California workers

A federal judge has ordered Wells Fargo to pay $97.3 million in damages to mortgage workers in California who weren't...

Posted: May 10, 2018 10:09 PM
Updated: May 10, 2018 10:09 PM

A federal judge has ordered Wells Fargo to pay $97.3 million in damages to mortgage workers in California who weren't paid enough for their breaks.

The judgment, handed down late Tuesday, comes after the court ruled in January that Wells Fargo violated California's tough labor laws.

The damages in the class action lawsuit are almost quadruple what Wells Fargo argued it should owe.

The ruling applies to Wells Fargo mortgage consultants and bankers who worked at the bank in California between March 2013 and August 2017.

It's the latest black eye for Wells Fargo, which has admitted to mistreating both customers and workers. The Federal Reserve handed down unprecedented sanctions against the bank in February for "widespread consumer abuses."

California law requires that employers give workers a 10-minute paid break for every four hours they're on the job. The dispute centered on whether Wells Fargo was paying them fairly for that break time.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson found that the Wells Fargo pay practice violates California law.

Wells Fargo argued to the judge that the settlement should be $24.5 million because it only owes workers their regularly hourly rate when they're on breaks.

The judge sided with the employees, who said their break pay should also take into account the lucrative commissions they earn. Anderson noted that the commissions make the hourly rate is "essentially irrelevant."

"Finally, I feel like justice has been served," former Wells Fargo employee Jackie Ibarra, the lead plaintiff in the case, told CNNMoney in an email.

"It's unfair not to pay us properly when we're essentially working on commission," said Ibarra, who worked for Wells Fargo for a decade.

Related: Warren Buffett defends Wells Fargo's 'cardinal sin'

Wells Fargo said it plans to appeal.

"We disagree and believe the court misunderstood our compensation plan and misunderstood the law," a Wells Fargo spokesman said.

It's not the first time Wells Fargo has been accused of mistreating employees. Former employees told CNNMoney in 2016 that they were fired by Wells Fargo after reporting wrongdoing to the bank's ethics hotline.

Wells Fargo was ordered by the Labor Department last year to rehire a whistleblower who reported fraud - and to pay him $5.4 million.

Wells Fargo said in a filing last week that it faces complaints and whistleblower actions filed with the Labor Department and state courts, alleging "adverse employment actions" for raising "misconduct issues." The Labor Department is investigating Wells Fargo, the bank said.

Former Wells Fargo workers have also brought a class action alleging they protested sales misconduct and were fired for not meeting sales goals.

Wells Fargo said it also faces federal and state class-action suits over pay. Former Wells Fargo employees told CNNMoney in 2016 that the bank's pressure-cooker culture forced them to work late without overtime pay.

Wells Fargo is trying to turn the page on what's arguably been the most difficult period of its history.

Last weekend, Wells Fargo launched a major advertising blitz called "Re-Established" that highlights the bank's efforts to restore broken trust with customers and employees.

"This campaign marks a turning point by expressing how we are fundamentally a different company today," CEO Tim Sloan said in a statement, "and that it feels like a new day at Wells Fargo."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 149940

Reported Deaths: 3779
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto9953104
Hinds9892198
Harrison7045110
Jackson6270119
Rankin5462102
Lee501095
Madison4734106
Forrest380586
Jones354888
Lauderdale3425145
Lafayette321549
Washington3161107
Lamar289250
Oktibbeha244362
Bolivar240984
Lowndes234164
Panola219850
Neshoba2196118
Marshall213850
Leflore204790
Pontotoc199228
Monroe197377
Sunflower191655
Lincoln188765
Warren175357
Tate168051
Union166025
Copiah163040
Pike161658
Yazoo154239
Scott152129
Itawamba151534
Pearl River150867
Coahoma150143
Alcorn149628
Simpson146753
Prentiss144230
Adams141150
Grenada140645
Leake133543
Holmes129961
George124524
Tippah124530
Covington122238
Winston121624
Hancock120239
Wayne117223
Marion115846
Attala112234
Tishomingo108942
Chickasaw107132
Newton104229
Tallahatchie96827
Clay90327
Clarke89353
Jasper82022
Walthall76328
Stone76114
Calhoun73913
Montgomery73625
Carroll72115
Lawrence70814
Noxubee70617
Yalobusha70627
Smith70516
Perry66126
Tunica60619
Greene60022
Claiborne58316
Jefferson Davis56517
Amite53114
Humphreys53119
Benton49117
Quitman4897
Webster43414
Kemper42518
Wilkinson39422
Jefferson34811
Franklin3365
Choctaw3237
Sharkey30917
Issaquena1144
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 242874

Reported Deaths: 3572
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31944500
Mobile19687361
Madison13065148
Tuscaloosa12983154
Montgomery12286236
Shelby1020377
Baldwin860398
Lee773566
Morgan653850
Calhoun6240119
Marshall621355
Etowah621066
Houston523038
DeKalb481336
Cullman435442
Limestone420645
St. Clair415855
Elmore404564
Lauderdale400454
Walker3634111
Talladega349054
Jackson313423
Colbert309342
Blount288840
Autauga271642
Franklin251033
Coffee242615
Dale231854
Dallas225932
Chilton221938
Russell22143
Covington218534
Escambia197931
Chambers176550
Tallapoosa175791
Pike158314
Clarke158019
Marion137936
Winston132323
Lawrence127336
Pickens122318
Geneva12138
Marengo121024
Bibb117317
Barbour117110
Butler115341
Randolph102021
Cherokee101524
Hale96131
Clay91124
Washington90919
Fayette89816
Henry8526
Lowndes79529
Monroe78711
Cleburne77114
Macon73122
Crenshaw71130
Bullock69419
Conecuh68414
Perry6846
Lamar6718
Wilcox63218
Sumter57722
Greene42418
Choctaw42113
Coosa3414
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