Wells Fargo Financial Michigan to Pay Former Employee for Bias

March 26, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – Wells Fargo Financial Michigan, Inc. agreed to settle for $55,000 an age and race discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

The EEOC’s lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, charged that Wells Fargo Financial failed to promote a highly qualified 47-year-old African-American loan processor on the basis of age and race. The loan processor applied for a promotion in early 2008 and was passed over for five lesser-qualified Caucasian women between 23 and 30 years old who were based in various other branch offices.

The loan processor had significantly more relevant work experience than all of the other candidates, the EEOC said. Further, the loan processor had the best combination of relevant, objective scores that measured productivity, was “loan processor of the year” for 2007, the year immediately proceeding the promotion decision, worked at the one of the largest and most profitable offices in the relevant district, and was the “go-to person” for the district on loan processing. The loan processor’s personnel file was devoid of any disciplinary actions, and none of the decision-makers alleged that she had any behavioral problems. Despite her superior qualifications, the loan processor was passed over for promotion, a decision which the EEOC charged was based on her age and race.

Under the terms of consent decree, Wells Fargo will pay the employee $55,000. Since the employer has closed the relevant operations, no other equitable relief was required.