The workforce gender gap has been a fight since well back into the 1800’s and continues to be fought today. Many people don't think that it exists, and those who are still out there fighting are referred to as feminist. Some consider feminism to be a derogatory word, but that's far from reality.
Women and men who are supporters have been making progress little by little. In 1963, the Equal Pay Act was passed and signed into law by then-President John F. Kennedy. While it is against the law, this has not stopped employers from being able to pay women lower wages.
While laws exist to allow for equal employment and equal pay, the problem still lies within individual organizations and their practices. Ideally, businesses should provide impartial opportunities to everyone, regardless of race or sex or the like. Being able to prove without a doubt that someone has been discriminated against is the challenge, however, and the reason why the law is so easily broken.
Wells Fargo's Recent Transgressions
Speaking of inappropriate workplace practices, Wells Fargo is in the hot seat for that very issue.
Wells Fargo (WFC) - Get Free Report has been in the news in the past for shady business practices. Just a few years ago, the bank was fined millions for falsely opening bank accounts in customers' names without permission. The purpose in opening the unauthorized accounts was for salespeople to meet quotas to open accounts.
In 2018, Wells Fargo was under scrutiny for its hiring practices. The Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo that year, alleging that it kept Black and female employees from applying for better paying jobs. This case was settled for $8 million. Considering the company made $78.5 billion in 2021, a few million fine really isn't more than a slap on the wrist.
The New York Times also published a story in May 2022 featuring interviews with past employees that did not paint the company in a positive light.
Now the bank faces new complaints, this time from several U.S. senators.
Truth and Consequences
This time around, Wells Fargo is being accused of interviewing minority candidates that it has no intention of actually hiring.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) sent a letter to Wells Fargo CEO and president Charles Scharf and Senior Vice President Bei Ling to express concerns about what it alleges as "fake interviews" held with minority candidates.
The letter claims that Wells Fargo hiring managers interview minorities even after a position has been filled in order to suggest that it is working towards a more diverse workforce, as well as to boost its own diversity statistics.
The U.S. Senators also pose direct questions in the letter, such as asking for the percentage of women, Black, and Latino candidates offered jobs in 2021 and if the company requires interviewers to take anti-bias training. They request a reply from Wells Fargo by October 18.
"The practice of interviewing candidates, particularly women and minority candidates, for previously filled positions is deeply insulting to qualified, and talented applicants that have the ability enrich and contribute to Wells Fargo," the letter reads. "We hope you will take swift action to remedy this issue and identify meaningful steps to advance recruitment, hiring, and retention of diverse employees across the bank’s business lines and senior leadership."