Federal regulators are keen on making sure employees in the workplace are not discriminated against for their age, gender or any other arbitrary factors … and rightfully so.
At the same time, new regulations designed to fight fraud at banks are dredging up 40-year-old crimes, causing senior workers to lose their positions after lifetimes of dedication, the Des Moines Register reported this week.
One senior, Richard Eggers, is responding by filing multiple civil rights complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Iowa Commission on Civil Rights. The impacted worker filed complaints against Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, First Advantage and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp in what could eventually vamp into class-action.
At 68, Eggers lost his job at First Advantage after seven years. His firing was caused by tighter bank fraud regulations that led to the discovery of a decades-old crime, the paper said. A deeper probe into Eggers past uncovered a minor offense of falsely operating coin change machines in his youth. Wells Fargo fired another veteran employee at 58 because tighter fraud checks resulted in the discovery that she shoplifted 40 years earlier.
Could more disgruntled former employees join the charge?
While new fraud regulations were put into place to stop high-stakes rollers from putting banks at risk, the plaintiffs allege the changes discriminate against older workers who committed petty offenses — during a time when courts were less forgiving of petty crime.
The moral of this story is particularly hard to find. After all, someone who works for decades without incident should be able to move along and maintain gainful employment in a free country. On the other hand, financial firms need to be careful when hiring employees while setting standards for fiscal responsibility.
But perhaps, the bigger takeaway is this: After a financial crisis that rocked the globe, individual Americans who committed petty offenses as teenagers are now feeling the blunt sting of new regulations after decades of gainful employment.