2017 was a tumultuous year for Wells Fargo
A former Wells Fargo mortgage loan processor claims in a lawsuit that her manager repeatedly sexually harassed her, including asking her to cook dinner for him in the nude, and that the company took no action in response to her complaints.
Jessica Nibert also says the manager told her she looked “hot” at the funeral of her infant daughter and that he “couldn’t tell she just had a baby.”
Other times, the lawsuit says, her manager asked Nibert to make out with him in storage closets or break rooms, which she said she refused to do. He texted her on her personal phone at odd hours, asking if she was in the shower “because he said he loved thinking of her naked in the shower,” according to the lawsuit.
He tried to hug her as she left work and asked her to wear skirts or dresses to work so he could “sneak her into a storage room,” according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Charlotte on Tuesday against Wells Fargo Bank. Nibert wants her job back and an unspecified amount of money for “emotional distress” and lost wages and benefits.
Tom Goyda, Wells Fargo senior vice president for consumer lending communications, said the bank has “only just begun to review this new lawsuit and can’t comment specifically about the claims related to this former team member.”
He added that “we strive for a culture where people matter, teamwork is rewarded, everyone feels respected and empowered to speak up, and diversity and inclusion are embraced.”
Nibert’s lawyer, William Trosch, declined comment.
Almost immediately after she was hired in 2012, Nibert says in the lawsuit, the manager began sexually harassing her. He asked if she would like to make extra money after work by cooking dinner for him in the nude, according to the lawsuit, and said he wanted her cubicle next to his so he could “see her ass and legs all day.” As Nibert walked up stairs, she said, the manger remarked that she had a “nice butt.”
Nibert says the comments humiliated her. When she reported the sexual harassment to the senior loan administration manager at Wells Fargo who supervised the man, the woman told Nibert, “Oh, that’s just Bob,” and said that human resources was aware of similar complaints against him. Nibert says she was told to ignore the inappropriate comments.
The sexual harassment continued, including through the Wells Fargo instant messaging system, the lawsuit says. In 2013, when she returned from a medical leave during her pregnancy, Nibert learned the man was now her direct manager and assigned her the cubicle directly in front of him, the lawsuit claims.
Nibert’s husband encouraged her to report the man to human resources. She says she didn’t because she was afraid she’d be fired or otherwise retaliated against, given Wells Fargo’s previous non-action, according to her lawsuit. She says her marriage deteriorated because of continual sexually suggestive text messages from the man. The couple eventually separated.
When Nibert complained again in 2015 to her manager’s boss about ongoing sexual harassment, the woman replied that the manager was “strange” and suggested he was having an intimate relationship with another Wells Fargo employee on bank property.
When Nibert began dating someone else, her boss began to ignore her and treat her differently, mocking photos of her boyfriend and refusing to help her with leave that the company granted her under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, her lawsuit says. In 2013, Nibert was diagnosed with endometriosis, a chronic disorder that causes severe pelvic pain and cramping and heavy menstrual bleeding. Wells Fargo approved related FLMA days off for her each month over several years, she said.
When she returned to work from a leave in May 2016, she says her boss texted her to start looking for another job. She continued working but went on disability leave again from May 31 to July 18, 2016, having been approved for short-term disability benefits under the Wells Fargo Short-Term Disability Plan.
On Aug. 22, 2016, she says she was fired.