In the past year and a half, the federal government enforced tough new rules against banks and mortgage-lenders, designed to eliminate executives and mid-level employees with prior convictions for serious offenses such as fraud. But the banks, eager to avoid the $1-million-a-day fines, are firing even low-level workers over minor offenses, reports the Des Moines Register. The craziest example: A 68-year-old Vietnam veteran named Richard Eggers was canned from his $29,795-a-year customer service job at Wells Fargo. The reason? Forty-nine years ago, he used a cardboard dime at a laundromat and spent two days in jail.
Another Wells Fargo employee, Yolanda Quesada, 58, was fired for a shoplifting offense from 40 years ago. “These guidelines are really meant for executives and people who can perpetuate widespread fraud,” says an attorney representing people who lost their jobs. “They’re not meant for low-level call center employees." A Wells Fargo spokesperson explains: “We are operating in an environment where we’re facing new regulations and a heightened level of scrutiny on all our activities." Eggers, though, calls it a "dirty trick." (Read more Wells Fargo stories.)