Judge: Wells Fargo must pay $97M to employees for unpaid breaks

Wells Fargo did not adequately compensate mortgage employees for breaks, which violated California labor law, a federal court ruled. File Photo by David Yee/UPI | License Photo

By Ray Downs – UPI

A federal judge this week ruled Wells Fargo must pay a $97 million in damages to California employees who weren’t paid enough for their breaks.

The fine comes after Wells Fargo’s mortgage bankers and consultants in California filed a class action lawsuit against the company for violating the state’s labor laws. U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson ruled in favor of the employees in January, but the $97 million amount is significantly less than the nearly $400 million amount the plaintiffs sought, CNN Money reported.

Under California law, employers must give a paid 10-minute break to employees every four hours. Wells Fargo, the court found, did not adequately pay workers for their breaks between March 17, 2013 and Aug. 1, 2017.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Wells Fargo said it plans to appeal the ruling.

“Wells Fargo’s compensation structure for its home mortgage consultants complies with California’s wage and hour laws, including pay for all break periods, and allows our [home mortgage consultants] to earn competitive, performance-based compensation,” spokesman Tom Goyda said. “We plan to appeal on the basis that the court’s decision reflects both a misunderstanding of our HMC compensation plan and a misapplication of the relevant state law.”