Performance goals are common in the workplace. Most businesses rely on metrics to evaluate employees for performance reviews, goals and making business-decisions regarding staffing. In recent weeks the media have been running a succession of articles concerning potentially questionable business practices at the financial giant Wells Fargo. The company allegedly created an atmosphere that required employees to open up new accounts without authorization (or even the knowledge) of the bank's many customers.
Roughly 5,300 Workers Terminated In The Past 5 Years
Now, federal officials are concerned that the company may have violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, according to an Associated Press report in the StarTribune. Several United States senators asked the Labor department to investigate potential bullying in the company aimed at pressuring employees to meet sales goals through the questionable practice of opening unauthorized accounts to generate new revenues for the bank. Reports indicate the bank has fired roughly 5,300 employees since 2011. It is not clear if officials believe all of the terminations were in retaliation for workers' refusals to engage in potentially questionable business practices.
Undue Pressures To Commit Unlawful Acts Is Prohibited
In the workplace, many workers may feel pressures or feel that they are the victims of being bullied by a supervisor and upper level officials in the company. Unfortunately, not all business decisions and performance pressures amount to unlawful conduct. However, a company cannot lawfully force an employee to engage in unlawful conduct. Moreover, it is unlawful for a business to fire an employee in retaliation for refusing to engage in unlawful conduct.
Many workers fear for their jobs when confronted with pressures from a supervisor or manager. However, keeping quiet and participating are not always the best choices to make. If you are confronted with a request to engage in questionable conduct, you need to understand your rights (and potential personal liability). An experienced employment law attorney can provide you with confidential guidance in how best to proceed. Retaliatory acts are commonly the basis of wrongful termination and employment law disputes.