At this point we've come to expect that Wells Fargo will screw over middle-class Americans. But it seems in the spirit of being inclusive, the big bank is now screwing over immigrants, too!
At least that's what a group of H-1B visa workers are claiming in a suit filed this week in San Francisco. Lead plaintiff Vinay Karamsetty, a web developer, says that Wells Fargo owes him $42,415 plus interest after Wells Fargo embarked on an "unfair scheme" to help dig the financial institution out an economic hole.
Karamsetty, who was hired by Wells Fargo in 2007, is accusing the bank of violating the
Employee Retirement Income Security Act by denying "employee benefits
under an employee benefit plan regulated and governed by ERISA." He also says that the bank promised to give their visa workers a severance payment if they were "displaced" for "business reasons."
According to the complaint:
In April 2009, Wells Fargo made a
company-wide decision to not renew any H-1B visas due to the economic
climate and Wells Fargo's merger with Wachovia Bank. As soon as an
employee's H-1B visa expires, he loses lawful immigration status and is
required to leave the United States immediately.
Wells Fargo knew these employees would have to find other work or leave the country, yet the company allegedly characterized their termination as "voluntary," which means they were denied severance benefits they deserved, the claim states.
"Wells Fargo exploited this predicament by denying H-1B visa
holders any benefits under the plan under the guise that they
'voluntarily' terminated their employment and were thus ineligible for
benefits under the plan," the complaint states. "This position was
concocted and implemented by a plan administrator with an undisputed
conflict of interest, both as a Wells Fargo employee and fellow plan