LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, February 3, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LAWSUIT: WELLS FARGO FAILED TO PROTECT FEMALE VICE PRESIDENT FROM RAPE AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY SUPERIOR, THEN RETALIATED AGAINST THE WOMAN FOR REPORTING IT
A copy of the lawsuit can be found in this Dropbox link:
**Interviews available with attorney and plaintiff Jane Doe who requests anonymity**
West Coast Trial Lawyers
Newsroom Public Relations
Wells Fargo Bank failed to protect a female Senior Vice President from a grossly hostile work environment that included rape by a superior, ongoing sexual harassment, vulgar behavior, and retaliation while the company dragged its feet, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, names as defendants Wells Fargo Bank, managers Eric R. Pagel and David Weitzel, along with two co-workers.
“Our client was taken advantage of and raped by a superior, suffering trauma, betrayal, and an utter invasion of personal space that no one should be subjected to in any workplace,” said plaintiff’s attorney Ron Zambrano of West Coast Trial Lawyers. “Wells Fargo’s response, just sitting on their hands and dragging their feet not even attempting to conduct a competent investigation, is absolutely unacceptable.”
Jane Doe worked as a Wells Fargo Senior Vice President in Southern California starting in April 2018. Doe says her superior, Eric Pagel, a Senior Investment Strategist and Managing Director, repeatedly subjected her to unwanted advances, groping, and sexually denigrating comments, referring to women as “dogs.”
During a business trip to Bakersfield, California, on January 23, 2020, Doe and the defendants went to dinner and consumed copious amounts of alcohol, and Doe became intoxicated.
According to the complaint, Weitzel walked Doe back to her hotel room. Pagel soon knocked on her door, forced his way in and raped her.
About a week later, Doe says she confronted Pagel, and he admitted the pair had sex multiple times, acknowledging that he knew she was intoxicated.
On February 27, 2020, Doe reported the sexual harassment to Weitzel who, according to the lawsuit, suggested that she just not give Pagel “a window of opportunity” to be inappropriate. She was still too afraid to report the rape.
But after months of continued harassment and sexually inappropriate comments, Doe filed a formal complaint about the assault to the Wells Fargo ethics hotline on November 13, 2020. She subsequently lodged a criminal complaint with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Doe says Wells Fargo and the superior who raped her then retaliated against her by reassigning some of her clients, excluding her from important meetings and threatening to keep her from lucrative accounts.
Wells Fargo did not begin any internal investigation in earnest until Doe leveled a formal charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in April 2021, five months after her internal complaint to the company, according to the suit.
Still suffering from the trauma of being raped, emotional distress and ongoing sexual harassment, Doe resigned in July 2021.
At the time, the defendants were still employed, and the internal investigation remained ongoing some eight months after Doe’s initial complaint.
“The only person that is helped by delaying the inevitable investigation is the accused. Time passes, memories fade, people move on,” Zambrano said. “They hoped she’d go away quietly into the night. But she is punching back and highlighting Wells Fargo’s cavalier approach to shocking allegations against its upper management.”
The plaintiff is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress, medical expenses, and attorneys’ fees.
The lawsuit was filed at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse, Los Angeles County Superior Court; Jane Doe v. Wells Fargo Bank, a California Corporation, et al, Case No: 23STCV02273. (Feb. 2, 2023)
About the West Coast Trial Lawyers – Los Angeles-based West Coast Trial Lawyers (https://westcoasttriallawyers.com) is a top-rated law firm with 100 years of collective experience. Our partners worked for the largest firm in Los Angeles, and now leverage their backgrounds and legal knowledge to stand up to the corporations they once defended. Ronald Zambrano is the Employment Litigation Chair at West Coast Trial Lawyers, where he brings more than a decade of experience fighting for employee rights. Since 2008, he’s exclusively represented victims of workplace discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, whistle blower retaliation, and wage and hour violations. Ron has settled millions of dollars in claims on behalf of aggrieved employees from various walks of life and backgrounds.