According to ABC News, federal prosecutors in Manhattan are now investigating the nation's third-largest bank to conclude whether their hiring practices broke the law.
Last month, current and former Wells Fargo employees told the New York Times that higher-ups regularly gave directives to interview women and people of color for positions that were already filled. These sham interviews were conducted to fill diversity quotas and keep government agencies off the company's back, the employees said.
The investigation into Wells Fargo's hiring practices is still in its early stages, and the charges the bank will potentially face are unknown, ABC News reports. The probe is being led by a civil rights unit within the Manhattan federal prosecution office.
Former Wells Fargo employee Joe Bruno was at the center of the New York Times report. Bruno said he was fired after speaking out about the phony interviews being conducted for applicants considered as diverse.
Wells Fargo employs over 235,000 Americans. Of its employees, 13 percent are Black, 17 percent are Latino, and 55 percent of the bank's workers are white, reports say.
The company said in a statement to ABC News, “No one should be put through an interview without a real chance of receiving an offer, period. The diverse slate guidelines we put in place are meant to increase diverse representation across the company and we can see meaningful results in our hiring data since 2020.”
“At the same time, it’s important that implementation of our guidelines is consistent. Earlier this week, the company temporarily paused the use of its diverse slate guidelines. During this pause, the company is conducting a review so that hiring managers, senior leaders, and recruiters fully understand how the guidelines should be implemented – and so we can have confidence that our guidelines live up to their promise,” Wells Fargo's statement reads.
The bank did not address the reported ongoing federal investigation.