Wells Fargo may, at times, seem to be on some sort of mission to see how many distinct groups can sue the bank before the year’s end — this week a new, and perhaps unexpected, demographic segment has entered the fray. Their own employees.
According to reports, two former managers have sued Wells Fargo, claiming they were fired unfairly over sales practice issues that were endemic to the bank.
Reza Razzaghipour and Marla Razzaghipour both claim they were fired for raising concerns about potentially illegal actions such as falsification of bank records to bank management, according to a lawsuit filed Aug. 31 in Los Angeles Superior Court. The husband and wife pair were both fired in March 2017 from their work overseeing operations in Southern California. Collectively, they supervised about 3,500 staff members.
For its part, Wells Fargo has officially denied the allegations.
“The termination decisions were not retaliatory as alleged in the complaint. The company terminated the employment of these two individuals for legitimate and lawful reasons,” Wells Fargo noted in a statement.
Mr. Razzaghipour, according to the suit filed, reported one type of employee fraud in 2013 and fired a “significant number of employees involved.” Mrs. Razzaghipour, known to many of her associates as Marla Clemow, “reported the illegal and unethical sales practices at the highest levels multiple times.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that employees tell a somewhat different story — that Mr. and Mrs. Razzaghipour pushed them to engage in questionable sales tactics. Lawyers for the couple have not commented on those allegations.
“My clients were fired in retaliation for complaining of illegal conduct at Wells Fargo, including the bank’s improper sales practices,” the managers’ lawyer Emanuel Shirazi, of Los Angeles-based Shirazi Law Firm, said in a statement. “Despite knowing this, Wells Fargo chose to scapegoat Mr. & Mrs. Razzaghipour.”
The suit further names several retail banking executives (who still work with the bank) and others who were fired, as the real “bad actors.”
The lawsuit is seeking damages of at least $50 million.
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