Two former Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) employees have filed a class action in California seeking $2.6 billion or more for workers who tried to meet aggressive sales quotas without engaging in fraud and were later demoted, forced to resign or fired.
The lawsuit on behalf of people who worked for Wells Fargo in California over the past 10 years, including current employees, focuses on those who followed the rules and were penalized for not meeting sales quotas.
“Wells Fargo fired or demoted employees who failed to meet unrealistic quotas while at the same time providing promotions to employees who met these quotas by opening fraudulent accounts,” the lawsuit filed on Thursday in California Superior Court in Los Angeles County said.
Wells Fargo has fired some 5,300 employees for opening as many as 2 million accounts in customers’ names without their authorization. On Sept. 8, a federal regulator and Los Angeles prosecutor announced a $190 million settlement with Wells.
Polonsky and Zaghi filed applications matching customer requests and were counseled, demoted and later terminated, the lawsuit said.
While executives at the top benefited from the activity, the blame landed on thousands of $12-per-hour employees who tried to meet the quotas and were often required to work off the clock to do so, the lawsuit said.