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

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Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds92024
Lauderdale69957
Madison68721
Scott62310
Neshoba56534
Jones52519
Forrest51137
DeSoto4936
Leake39512
Rankin3736
Holmes37324
Jackson30013
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Attala27715
Monroe25324
Leflore25030
Lincoln25022
Newton2504
Harrison2457
Lamar2275
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Pike20211
Adams19015
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Noxubee1696
Washington1636
Warren1587
Oktibbeha15010
Bolivar14911
Wayne1480
Jasper1483
Covington1411
Clarke13517
Smith13311
Kemper13110
Chickasaw12812
Lafayette1254
Lee1175
Carroll11410
Coahoma1133
Marion1129
Winston1051
Clay1043
Lawrence991
Simpson930
Hancock8711
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Wilkinson859
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Grenada823
Montgomery811
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Union785
Marshall763
Jefferson Davis752
Tippah7111
Tate691
Panola643
Claiborne642
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Webster591
Amite561
Humphreys537
Tunica523
Walthall510
Perry492
Prentiss413
Jefferson400
Choctaw352
Stone300
Pontotoc283
Franklin272
Tishomingo260
Quitman250
Tallahatchie251
George201
Benton140
Alcorn141
Greene111
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16310

Reported Deaths: 590
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2085112
Jefferson167397
Montgomery144634
Marshall6609
Tuscaloosa63212
Lee52632
Franklin4986
Shelby47019
Tallapoosa41063
Butler39113
Chambers34024
Madison3154
Elmore3007
Baldwin2829
Walker2821
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Dallas2323
Coffee2191
Lowndes21610
Morgan2111
Sumter2106
Autauga1923
Houston1854
Bullock1763
Pike1730
Colbert1612
Calhoun1523
Marengo1506
Choctaw1487
Russell1480
Lauderdale1452
Hale1416
Wilcox1327
Barbour1301
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Randolph1247
Marion11711
St. Clair1081
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Greene914
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Winston770
Covington751
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Washington656
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Monroe342
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