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UPDATE 1-Wells Fargo ends forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims

Reuters logo Reuters 2/12/2020 By Imani Moise

(New throughout, adds details)

By Imani Moise

Feb 12 (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co on Wednesday ended its forced arbitration policy for employee sexual harassment claims, opening the lender to potential lawsuits in the future.

The San Francisco-based bank made the decision following a shareholder proposal from Clean Yield Asset Management which has since been withdrawn, asking for a public analysis of mandatory arbitration's impact on sexual assault claims within the company.

“Wells Fargo has zero tolerance for sexual harassment,” David Galloreese, head of human resources at Wells Fargo, wrote in an article posted on the company’s internal and external websites. "The treatment of sexual harassment claims has become an increasingly prominent issue across industries."

Wells Fargo requires most employees to sign arbitration agreements when they are hired to that require them to settle workplace disputes privately, not in court.

In December, a representative from Clean Yield Asset Management, an impact investing firm with a roughly $2,000 stake in Wells Fargo, submitted a proposal asking the board to conduct a review of mandatory arbitration's effect on sexual harassment claims and make the report public. (Reporting by Imani Moise Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)

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