Reprinted from The New York Times by Stacy Cowley on April 3, 2017.
A federal regulator on Monday ordered Wells Fargo to pay $5.4 million to a former manager who said he was fired in 2010 after reporting to his supervisors and to a bank ethics hotline what he suspected was fraudulent behavior.
The bank must also rehire him, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said.
The $5.4 million, intended to cover back pay, compensatory damages and legal fees, is the largest individual award ever ordered through OSHA’s whistle-blower protection program, according to Barbara Goto, the agency’s regional administrator in San Francisco.
It is also the first financial penalty against a company that the agency has announced in a news release since President Trump was inaugurated. …
“Unemployed whistle-blowers can’t financially afford to wait six years for justice,” said Tom Devine, the legal director of the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit group that is an advocate for whistle-blowers. “With those kinds of delays, it’s like getting a heart transplant after the patient has died.”