WELLS FARGO SETTLES AGE AND RACE PROMOTION DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) settles race and age promotion discrimination lawsuit against Wells Fargo Financial Management for failing to promote an eminently qualified African American female candidate.

Sylvia Bumphus-Passmore, a 47 year old African American, worked at Wells Fargo’s Sterling Heights, MI, location as a loan processor.  Passmore had amassed twenty-four years of experience in the banking industry by 2007.  Passmore worked in one of the largest and most profitable offices in the relevant district, and was known as the “go-to-person” for the district on loan processing.  Later that year,  based on her objective productivity, she earned the company’s “loan processor of the year” award.

In early 2008, Passmore applied for a promotion .  Notwithstanding Passmore’s experience and ability, Wells Fargo passed over her for five lesser qualified Caucasian women aged between 23 and 30 who were based in various other branch offices.  Wells Fargo denied Passmore a promotion despite the fact her personnel file did not contain any disciplinary actions or other negative references and the promotion decision makers did not allege she had any behavioral or any other deficiencies.

In 2010, the EEOC filed suit against Wells Fargo charging it with age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), as amended, and with race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), as amended.  In March 2012, Wells Fargo entered into a consent decree by agreeing, inter alia, to pay Passmore $55,000.00,  (Since the defendant had closed the relevant operations in the interim, it did not have an obligation to provide her with equitable relief, e.g., promotion).

Trek Carethers, the EEOC Trial Attorney, commented on the litigation: “It was readily apparent that the 47-year old African American loan processor was the superior candidate.  The employer had no justification for passing her over, not for one less qualified candidate, but five.  The EEOC will continue to remove employment barriers where we find them.”

http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/release/3-23-12a.cfm

You may be the top performer at your job.  However, your employer may nonetheless decline to promote or compensate you in a manner consistent with your abilities.  Sometimes supervisors figuratively put employees in a box.  While they may delight in having you perform in a stellar fashion inside the box, they cannot fathom you operating outside of the box.  Unfortunately, an underlying unlawful motivation could constitute the root to their resistance to promoting and/or compensating you.

If you are objectively well qualified for a position, your employer nevertheless passes over you, and you have reason to believe an invidious, unlawful consideration was a casual factor, then you may have the basis for commencing a promotion discrimination action.  If, like Passmore, you can establish the employer did not have any work related reason to select a lesser qualified candidate over you, you may prevail on such an action either through settlement or at trial.  While companies generally have the right to set the terms and conditions of employment (especially in an “employment at-will” setting), they do not have the right to contravene employment discrimination statutes or other applicable laws protecting employees’ rights.

Similarly, if you have endured discrimination, harassment or other workplace difficulties, you too can effectively seek your remedy. You do not have to endure mistreatment in silence.  You have rights!  With Unfair Termination:  Know Your Rights and Obtain Financial Justice, you can chart a course to avoid, minimize or otherwise effectively attack unlawful treatment on the job.  You do not have to be a victim at work.  Be a victor!  Download Unfair Termination:  Know Your Rights today at www.unfairterminationrelief.com.

 

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