Wells Fargo Shareholder Sues Bank’s Executives for Sham Interview and Hiring Practices to Increase Workforce Diversity


Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP and Bottini & Bottini Inc. announced that Amy Cook, a shareholder of Wells Fargo, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against certain officers and directors of Wells Fargo for their role in the Bank’s allegedly sham hiring and promotion practices supposedly meant to increase workplace diversity. 

The lawsuit, Amy Cook v. Steven D. Black, et al., United States District Court Case No. 3:23-cv-04934-JCS, alleges that Wells Fargo implemented an internal program, called the Diverse Search Requirement, requiring that at least half of the candidates interviewed for high paying jobs be diverse and that an interviewer on the hiring panel also have a diverse background.  Wells Fargo also allegedly required senior-level approval of any exceptions to the process.  Instead, as alleged, the Bank conducted fake interviews of racially and ethnically diverse candidates for positions that were already filled and issued misleading statements touting its hiring and promotion practices to create the false impression of success in its diversity initiatives.

Mark Molumphy of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, who is serving as co-lead counsel for Ms. Cook, said: “Wells Fargo’s executives owed the highest fiduciary duties to the Bank and its shareholders and their compensation was tied directly to their success or failure in DEI initiatives.  However, while Wells Fargo actively promoted the Bank’s commitment to a diverse workforce, the complaint alleges that Bank management utterly failed to implement effective internal controls to ensure minority candidates were considered for employment and then failed to hold senior executives responsible for the substantial harm caused.”  

The Complaint seeks monetary damages, and injunctive or declaratory relief necessary to reform Wells Fargo’s corporate governance.

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