Back in July, 68-year-old Richard Eggers from Des Moines, Iowa was fired from his job at a Wells Fargo call center for putting a cardboard dime in a washing machine in 1963.
Since the initiation of new federal banking regulations in May 2011 thousands of employees like Eggers have been fired for minor infractions. The regulations forbid financial institutions from employing anyone convicted of a crime involving dishonesty, breaches of trust, or money laundering. Said guidelines are designed to protect consumers from executives and higher-level bank employees guilty of transactional crimes. However, as they carry noncompliance fines that can total millions of dollars, they are increasingly been used to terminate employment at all levels in order for companies to protect themselves.
Richard Eggers has since received a waiver from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) and was subsequently offered his old job back on October 12. Eggers said he wouldn’t accept the job offer unless Wells Fargo changes its company policy towards background checks.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), commenting on the firing, said in a statement
By all accounts his firing made zero sense. However, the regulations that led to his firing are still in place. Many other bank employees around the country are in the same situation. The FDIC still needs to answer for the regulations that are leading to the firing of employees who don’t pose any risk to financial consumers.
On granting Egger his waiver request the FDIC noted that, in the 49 years since his arrest for fraudulently operating a coin-operated machine with a cardboard dime, he had demonstrated “satisfactory evidence of rehabilitation.”