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Former Wells Fargo executive in Jacksonville says company conducted fake interviews to meet diversity quota in one-on-one interview

Joe Bruno was fired from Wells Fargo in 2021. He worked as a Diversity Hiring Executive and also lead a dozen branches in the local area.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A fired Wells Fargo employee is speaking to First Coast News, saying the company schedules fake job interviews to increase diversity numbers in annual reports.

That former employee, Joe Bruno, says he spoke up about the issue and was later fired.

“This is systemic around the country,” said Bruno. He worked for Wells Fargo up until August 2021.

He worked as a top executive overseeing diversity recruitment and leading 14 branches across the Northeast Florida area.

He says the company frequently interviewed minority candidates just to check off a diversity box. He says they’d interview minorities even if the seat was already filled.

“My objective here is to shine a light on the bullying and the hostile work environment that Wells Fargo has created for me and for others,” said Bruno.

RELATED: Wells Fargo says it can't corroborate claims of former Jacksonville bank exec, who says company staged 'fake' job interviews for minorities

Bruno says he was fired for what the company called retaliation against one of his colleagues, but he says the claims were false.

In 2021, the company says overall external hiring increased by 17% compared to 2020 and hiring people of diverse backgrounds increased 27%.

Bruno says his job was to focus on diversity in hiring, and he says he didn’t see enough of it while he worked for the company.

Bruno also pointed out CEO Charles Scharf’s 2020 comment making headlines.

The CEO claimed the company didn’t have enough minority talent because not enough minorities were qualified for jobs.

“Charlie Scharf said that the reason why we didn’t have at the firm more qualified African Americans in leadership roles in because they’re not out there, this is our CEO.”

Wells Fargo issued a statement to First Coast News:

Yesterday, The New York Times published a story alleging that a handful of Wells Fargo managers decided to hire a job candidate and then — after making this decision — interviewed diverse candidates, knowing that the seat had already been filled. We researched all specific claims the reporter shared with us in advance of the story’s publication and could not corroborate the claims as factual."

RELATED: Report: Wells Fargo staged 'fake' job interviews for Black, female candidates according to former Jacksonville exec

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