Miserable Wells Fargo employees say they’ve been denied bathroom breaks

Feeling shattered.
Feeling shattered.
Image: Reuters/Anthony Bolante
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The ouster of Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf was supposed to signal that the scandals plaguing the bank were winding down. But the company, which was fined $185 million by US regulators for opening more than 2 million bank or credit card accounts without the consent of its customers, can’t seem to escape the wrath of US senators and former employees airing its misdeeds.

Senate hearings, which revealed a high-pressure sales culture at the bank that pushed low-level employees into questionable practices, are now zeroing in on whether Wells Fargo intimidated (paywall) fired employees who tried to blow the whistle (paywall).

Apparently, things haven’t much improved for some of the rank-and-file staffers remaining at Wells Fargo, who say top executives continue to intimidate them and shift blame for the bank’s mismanagement. Among the claims: Employees are still being denied bathroom breaks, an allegation that a former banker lodged at the company at a recent hearing about the scandal at a California State Assembly hearing. ”I’ve been harassed, intimidated, written up and denied bathroom breaks,” Nathan Todd Davis said, after driving 350 miles from his home to speak at the hearing. Davis said he filed 50 ethics complaints over his ten-year stint at the company, to no avail.

A call center employee in California told CNNMoney that she and her colleagues are still not permitted to go to the bathroom without a doctor’s note, unless they are on a scheduled break.

“The new CEO has no impact here in the trenches. People here are angry…feeling very dehumanized,” the employee, named Rebecca, told CNNMoney (she declined to use her last name for fear of retaliation). “Wells Fargo can give $120 million to a crooked CEO—but won’t allow us to pee.”

A spokesperson for the bank said Wells Fargo is looking into the claim: “If we find it to be true, it is completely unacceptable and we will take immediate action.”

According to CNNMoney, the complaint about being denied bathroom breaks “came up often” during its conversations with current and former employees. While it’s unclear how prevalent the problem is now, current and former employees said the tactic had led to ”stomach-related ailments.”