It was a pretty petty crime – even at the time. Richard Eggers was just 19 when he stuck a cardboard nickel into a washing machine. At the time he got two years in fail: 49 years later he lost his job.
“It was a stupid stunt and I’m not real proud of it, but to fire somebody for something like this – after seven good years of employment – is a dirty trick when you come right down to it,” Eggers said. “And they’re doing this kind of thing all across the country.”
Eggers, a 68-year-old Vietnam vet, had worked as a customer service rep job at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage for seven years.
Last year new employment guidelines came in which forbade the employment of anyone convicted of a crime involving dishonesty, breach of trust or money laundering. Subsequently, the De Moines Register has reported that banks have been firing low-level employees like Eggers over the last year. Originally, the aim was to get rid of executives and midlevel employees guilty of fraud, but it seems it is low-level workers that have been hit by the brunt of the changes.
Wells Fargo spokesperson Angela Kaipust told woi-tv: "We don't have discretion to grant exceptions in situations like this. Once we find out someone has a criminal history of dishonesty or breach of trust we can no longer employ them."
Eggers was not the first victim of Wells Fargo’s strict interpretation of the law. HRM reported in May that Yolanda Quesada, 58, was fired from a similar position over a 40-year-old shoplifting case.
Charlene Eggers, Richard’s wife, said: “His only crime was being a teenager and being stupid. If that’s a crime we’re all in a lot of trouble.”