Wells Fargo banker says she was fired for refusing to scam customers

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — A former Wells Fargo Bank (WFC) employee is suing the bank, saying she was fired for refusing to participate in a scheme to manipulate accounts and sell products that weren’t in customers’ best interest.

Melinda Bini filed a lawsuit in state court in New Jersey on April 5 against the bank and three supervisors from the branch she worked at in Highland Park, NJ.com reported.

In the lawsuit, Bini accused her superiors of running or knowing about the scheme and says she was retaliated against and later fired for refusing to participate. Bini, a former assistant vice president and regional private banker, is seeking her job back and damages.

Wells Fargo has been struggling to recover its reputation after acknowledging last year that its employees opened as many as 2 million checking and credit card accounts without customers’ knowledge or authorization. The bank has paid a record $185 million in fines to federal and local authorities, $110 million to settle a class-action lawsuit and has clawed back hundreds of millions of dollars from top executives in relation to the scandal. 

Kevin Friedlander, a spokesman for the bank, said the company doesn’t tolerate retaliation against employees who express their concerns.

“Our non-retaliation policy makes clear that no team member may be retaliated against for providing information about suspected unethical or illegal activities or possible violations of any Wells Fargo policies,” Friedlander said.

Friedlander said the supervisors are still employed, but he wasn’t able to comment further on the allegations because it was an ongoing legal matter.