Wells Fargo is receiving significant backlash after a whistleblower stepped forward to report that the banking giant had been scheduling fake interviews with Black applicants simply to boost their diversity statistics.
Former Wells Fargo wealth management executive Joe Bruno, 58, claims he was fired late last year after coming forward to his bosses about the alleged fake interviews. Bruno claims that he was instructed by management to schedule interviews with Black applicants for lower paying jobs as financial advisors and financial consultants despite having already selected an applicant to fill the roll.
Bruno reported to the New York Times that, after a while, he outright refused to schedule any more of the diversity interviews, declaring to his bosses “‘I got a black person on the other side of the table who has no shot at getting the job.” He said he was quickly fired in retaliation for speaking out. His claims were backed up by five other employees, the Times reported.
According to the various employees who cam forward, the interviews were intentional and created to try and avoid eventual regulatory audits from the federal government to see if they were interviewing enough minority candidates instead of actually adding real diversity to their ranks.
The revelation comes just 2 years after a pledge from CEO Charles W. Scharafter to increase diversity numbers within the company following the George Floyd riots. He guaranteed more diversity in positions that make over $100,000 annually.
Barry Sommers, who serves as Chief Executive for Wells Fargo’s Wealth and Investment Management division, told the Times that Bruno’s report wouldn’t make sense, however, since the positions he listed are under $100,000 salary spots.
“There is absolutely no reason why anyone would conduct a fake interview,” Sommers said.
Wells Fargo spokeswoman Raschelle Burton also made a point to reject the claims of fake interviews, emailing a statement to the Times reading, “To the extent that individual employees are engaging in the behavior as described by The New York Times, we do not tolerate it.”
Despite their denials, it’s almost guaranteed an investigation from newspapers and possibly even the government will follow this new report. Do you think a company like Wells Fargo would schedule fake interviews to increase diversity? Do you blame them if they did?