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PAST CRIMES: FDIC Changes Rule at Banks

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Last summer, 69-year-old Richard Eggers, of Des Moines, made headlines, when he was fired by Wells Fargo for a petty crime he committed when he was in college.

Today, the FDIC announced it is changing the rule that caused Wells Fargo to fire him.

Eggers says he was happy working at Wells Fargo but until last July, he’d worked as a customer service representative for the company for seven years.

Without warning he was fired for a crime he committed five decades earlier.

“These are terribly frivolous reasons to upset someone’s life,” says Eggers.

Back in 1963, he cut out cardboard coins and put them Laundromat washing machines, as a joke.

However, last July, Wells Fargo decided it was a fire able offense based on a rule by the FDIC, which oversees banks like Wells Fargo.

The rule said any bank employee who'd spent one night in jail for committing a crime of dishonesty or committed a crime punishable with a fine of one-thousand dollars would be fired.

Eggers attorney, Leonard Bates explains the new rule, “If you have served three days or less in jail you might be able to get a waiver and if your crime was punishable for up to $2,500 not just $1,000, you might be able to work for a bank.”

Bates, says it’s a step in the right direction but there is still a long way to go.

“Banks like Wells Fargo could continue to use a cardboard dime as an excuse to fire a hard working low leveling banking employee who did nothing wrong and deserves to hold his job,” says Bates.

The attorney says the new rule still has many gray areas and says Wells Fargo employees are still at risk of losing their jobs for petty reasons.

Bates says, “There’s absolutely no distinction between minor offense and felonies. All that matters is whether bank thinks that your crime was related to dishonesty.”

Eggers attorney is questioning the timing of all this. Wells Fargo enforced a rule from 1950 in 2012, firing more than 50 employees. They plan on filing a lawsuit in the future.

Eggers could be rehired by Wells Fargo because of the rule change but he said he would not go back unless Wells Fargo rehired the others who were let go.

Wells Fargo could not make that promise. The rule change goes into effect in December.