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Labor Department orders Wells Fargo NA to hire back whistleblower

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration ordered Wells Fargo Bank NA to give back the job of a former manager in its wealth management group who was dismissed after reporting possible fraudulent activity at the bank.

The unnamed employee previously had positive job performance appraisals, but has been unable to find work in the banking sector since being terminated in 2010 after he reported separate incidents of suspected bank, mail and wire fraud by two bankers working under him.

The OSHA also stated that according to an investigation it conducted, the former employee's whistleblower activity at the very least partly contributed to the company's decision to let him go. The agency also ordered the Wells Fargo & Co. unit to award the former employee roughly $5.4 million, which covers full compensation for lost earnings for time spent outside the banking industry, including back pay, compensatory damages and attorneys fees. The bank has also been directed to inform all employees of their whistleblower protections under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The bank has the option to appeal the decision — with the exception of the reinstatement — before the department's Office of Administrative Law Judges.

According to a separate April 3 news article from Reuters, Wells Fargo Bank representative Vince Scanlon said that the bank disagrees with the order and will be requesting a full hearing on the matter.