Wells Fargo announces end to mandatory arbitration for employee sexual assault claims

Wells Fargo announces end to mandatory arbitration for employee sexual assault claims
© Greg Nash

Wells Fargo will no longer require employees who experience sexual harassment on the job to litigate their claims in private arbitration, the company announced Thursday.

A message to company employees from David Galloreese, Wells Fargo's head of human resources, stated that the company has "no tolerance" for sexual harassment and would end the past policy of requiring arbitration for such claims.

Mandatory arbitration clauses often require employees who are the victims of crimes or discrimination to resolve the matter internally within the company rather than involve the court system.

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"Wells Fargo has zero tolerance for sexual harassment. Following internal dialogue and feedback from various stakeholders, including the proponents of a shareholder proposal, we have decided that, effective immediately, Wells Fargo will not require arbitration for employees in connection with any future sexual harassment claims," read the letter from Galloreese.

"This is the appropriate change to make at this time for our employees," he added. "The treatment of sexual harassment claims has become an increasingly prominent issue across industries. We’ve taken many steps to create and maintain a workplace environment that promotes and protects the safety and well-being of our employees."

According to a news release from the company, the arbitration policy "generally applies to employees hired since December 11, 2015," and appeared to indicate that claims already under arbitration would remain covered by that policy.

A bill passed by the House last year would make mandatory arbitration clauses such as the one previously used by Wells Fargo illegal, though it has yet to pass the Senate.