The change, which applies to future harassment claims, is being made following discussions with stakeholders including Clean Yield Asset Management, which submitted a shareholder proposal late last year that focused on the practice, Wells Fargo said in a statement Wednesday. Clean Yield, which focuses on investments that reflect clients’ values, has since withdrawn the proposal.
“Wells Fargo has zero tolerance for sexual harassment,”
A global reckoning about sexual harassment has been unleashed in the #MeToo era, with forced arbitration coming
While several tech giants, including Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., have done away with the clause in the past few years, the process remains widespread on Wall Street, which pioneered it decades ago. One woman at Cantor Fitzgerald has been engaged in a
“Wells Fargo’s decision is yet another step in ending the secrecy and silence that survivors of sexual harassment and assault have been forced to endure,” advocacy group Lift Our Voices said in a statement. “One major bank can inspire others in the financial sector to do the right thing.”
At Wells Fargo, the mandatory-arbitration policy applied to employees hired since late 2015, according to the statement.
“Wells Fargo has raised the bar for financial institutions aiming to root out sexual harassment in the workplace,” Molly Betournay, Clean Yield’s director of shareholder advocacy, said in a statement. Wells Fargo is believed to be the first big bank to end forced arbitration for such claims, Clean Yield said.
Wells Fargo, which is trying to regain customer trust and mend ties with regulators and elected officials following years of scandals, is instituting a series of reforms under new Chief Executive Officer
(Updates with comment from Lift Our Voices in sixth paragraph, Clean Yield in eighth.)
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