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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37818
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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Hello,I would like to file a BOFE or some such claim with

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Hello, I would like to file a BOFE or some such claim with the proper authorities but I need it to be anonymous. My wife has taken a job with Wells Fargo Bank in Cost Mesa as a mortgage underwriter. The bank is using her and all of her associates in a sweat shop style environment. She is told that she must complete whatever work they give her and that she can’t go home until it is done.

For the past month, she has been going in the office around 7 a.m. and last night she didn’t leave until after 10 p.m.! She and the others in her office are told that they not only have to complete the assignment but that they can receive no overtime until they make their assigned quotas. I am not even sure she is allowed to take breaks or lunch. At the very least, she feels she can't or else she will have to stay even longer. Now, I know that she can file a BOFE claim but it has to be in writing and must have her signature.

The problem with that is that 1) She will probably be fired and 2) she will never be able to get another job in the underwriting business as banks get references from other banks. She like many of her associates have been out of work for over 2 years and the thought of losing this job is terrifying to her. BTW, my daughter is a recruiter for Robert Half and she has made numerous comments about how Wells Fargo is basically skirting if not in direct violation of many of the laws but because they are so big and the economic conditions are such that they can get away with it. Something needs to be done about this. Wells Fargo needs to be investigated for their labor and employment practices.

I do believe that there are the ingredients of a class action suit here. I would appreciate any advice you can give. This is killing my wife and she is older having in the underwriting business for a long time! Thanks.


Just as reference, I am a business executive and have founded 6 high technology companies in Silicon Valley. As such, I am aware of the labor laws relating to my employees, executives, temps and consultants. I am not an expert but I do know when something isn't right.


Thanks for your guidance.


Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 5 years ago.
Good morning Bob,

I'm sorry to hear of your wife's dilemma.

As you seem to have a good handle on the fact that what they are doing to your wife is illegal---she can not be required to finish a project to be overtime eligible in CA, nor can she be denied rest breaks and meal breaks in CA.

I'm not quite sure what your question is here. While there may be a possibility of a class action suit, that is highly unlikely as it is difficult, and very expensive, to get court approval for class suits. Each employee's situation is likely different enough that what is happening to your wife likely is not occurring to a similarly situated employee in another city or state.

If you can be a bit more specific as to what it is you need to know, I'm sure that I can help you. I've been handling employment law and discrimination/retaliation claims for a couple of decades.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

What I would like to be able to do is to file a complaint anonomously so that the situation can be investigated but without identifying my wife either directly or indirectly. Do you know if and where that can be done?


As to this happening to others, it is happening to most of the other three month hires in her office. It has also happened at other facilities in Northern California that we know of.


My wife in particular was hired by Wells Fargo in Nothern California. She went to work, was there for only a couple of weeks and then they nonchalantly came in and announced that they were closing the office and let everyone go!





Expert:  LawTalk replied 5 years ago.
Good morning,

The simple fact is that your wife may not anonymously file a complaint with any section of the government---state or federal. She is legally entitled to report abuses to the state, and when she does so, she is protected from retaliation for having filed the complaint. However, she may not refuse to identify herself, because that will result in the complaint not being investigated.

Most of the big banks are in trouble. BofA is in the process of laying off some 40,000 employees. Wells, is not immune to the problems either. Everyone is being pushed to more in less time. The threats being mad,e of no overtime, would be illegal to follow through with. If she is denied meal breaks and rest breaks, her rights are being violated.

I would suggest that the two of you go to your local Department of Industrial Relations Office and meet with an investigator to share your concerns. Here is a link to where you can locate your local office by city:

While your wife will have to sign her name to the complaint, the Department can make sure that the employer realized that it is unlawful for them to retaliate against her. If they do, then she has a civil claim she can make against them, as retaliation would likely constitute Constructive Wrongful Termination. This is something that you folks would want a local Employment Law Attorney in on from the beginning so that the appropriate steps can be taken to maximize any eventual recovery she might have against Wells Fargo.

I wish you and your wife the best in 2011.

Because I help people here, like you, for a living---this is not a hobby for me, and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX abiding by the honor system as regards XXXXX XXXXX I wish you and your family the best in your respective futures.

Would you be so kind as to Accept my Answer so that I may be compensated for assisting you? Bonuses for greatly informative and helpful answers are very much appreciated. Thanks Again,


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