WASHINGTON — The Department of Labor said Tuesday it is launching a probe into whether Wells Fargo violated labor laws by instituting stringent sales quotas — practices that led to a $190 million settlement with federal regulators earlier this month.
In a letter sent Monday to a group of Democratic senators, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said the agency would conduct a comprehensive review of labor practices at Wells, including a re-examination of past and pending complaints that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is studying.
"Given the serious nature of the allegations, the recent actions of our federal partners, and recent media reports, I have directed enforcement agencies within the Department to conduct a top-to-bottom review of cases, complaints, or violations concerning Wells Fargo over the last several years," Perez said. "In addition to our top-to-bottom review, the Department has taken other measures to ensure that all current and former Wells Fargo employees are aware of the worker protection laws under the Department's jurisdiction."
The letter was in response to a request by a group of Senate Democrats last week seeking an examination of whether Wells violated labor laws. The signatories to that letter were Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Mass.; Sherrod Brown, Ohio; Jack Reed, R.I.; Robert Menendez, N.J.; Bernie Sanders, Vt.; Jeff Merkley, Ore.; Kirsten Gillibrand, N.Y.; and Mazie Hiorino, Hawaii.
Warren — who during a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee last week called on Wells CEO John Stumpf to resign — said in a statement that other agencies should similarly look into whether the bank had violated other laws.
"I'm glad DOL is initiating a prompt and thorough agency-wide review of all cases, complaints, and violations implicating Wells Fargo over the past several years to determine whether the agency should bring additional claims against the bank," Warren said. "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."
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced Tuesday that it had fined Wells $400,000 for reporting violations related to its swaps dealing activity from 2013 through 2015.