Wells Fargo agreed Tuesday to pay the Labor Department $7.8 million in back wages and interest to resolve allegations of hiring discrimination.
Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) entered into a conciliation agreement with Wells Fargo Bank over Wells Fargo’s alleged discrimination against 34,193 African American applicants for banking, customer sales and service, and administrative support positions at U.S. locations nationwide, as well as against 308 female applicants for administrative support positions, in violation of Executive Order 11246.
The Executive Order prohibits federal contractors from discriminating in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.
In addition to paying the back wages and interest, Wells Fargo agreed to provide 580 affected applicants with job opportunities as tellers, personal bankers, customer sales and service representatives and administrative support positions, Labor said.
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Wells Fargo said in a Tuesday statement shared with ThinkAdvisor that the agreement with the OFCCP “relates to its routine review of hiring data from six to 10 years ago in a small number of U.S. geographies. ”
The OFCCP review, Wells Fargo said, “ found lower selection rates for African Americans for some teller, customer service and personal and phone banker positions, while Hispanics were generally the group with the highest selection rate, reflecting the need for Spanish-language skills for certain customer-facing roles.”
Added Wells Fargo: “There were no findings that Wells Fargo hiring managers intentionally discriminated against job candidates.”
Since this time period, Wells Fargo has “made significant changes, including centralizing recruiting, establishing a recruiting team focused on diverse talent, increasing partnerships with diverse organizations (including historically black colleges and universities), and improving record keeping,” the bank said.
The news comes just as Wells Fargo is moving ahead with job cuts, which could affect tens of thousands of workers, according to a recent Bloomberg report, and nearly four years after it began making headlines for its fake-accounts scandal.
“Starting in early August, we resumed regular job displacement activity,” Beth Richek, a spokesperson for the bank, said in a statement provided to the news service.