Wells Fargo has been accused of scheduling fake job interviews with Black applicants for roles that had already been promised to other candidates to boost its diversity statistics, the New York Times has reported.
Joe Bruno, a former executive in the wealth management division at Wells Fargo’s corporate offices in Jacksonville, Florida, noted that he was fired last August after he blew the whistle to his superiors about the bank’s “fake recruitment”.
The New York Times reported that Bruno, 58, in his complaint to management described the alleged action as “inappropriate, morally wrong, and ethically wrong.”
The Times also reported that Bruno was one of seven current and former Wells Fargo employees who say they were asked to conduct interviews for “diverse” candidates for positions even if different candidates had already been hired for those positions.
“To the extent that individual employees are engaging in the behaviour as described by The New York Times, we do not tolerate it,” Raschelle Burton, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman, told the Times.
Wells Fargo also spoke with Fox Business about the allegations. “We researched all specific claims the reporter shared with us in advance of the story’s publication and could not corroborate the claims as factual,” a spokesperson for the company said. “Wells Fargo will continue our internal review and if we find evidence of inappropriate behaviour or shortcomings in our guidelines or their implementation, we will take decisive action.”
According to jdsupra, Wells Fargo’s alleged decision to conduct fake interviews with no intention to hire is rooted in the firm’s decades-long history of alleged race discrimination. According to the platform, the bank was sued by some 320 Black financial advisers in 2013 for racial discrimination.
Following the murder of George Floyd and the outcry it generated in 2020, Wells Fargo and other firms started taking diversity seriously. That year, Wells Fargo agreed to pay almost $8 million to settle a claim from the Department of Labor alleging the company discriminated against more than 30,000 Black job applicants.