A Milwaukee woman who shoplifted clothing items 40 years ago was fired from… (Seth Perlman / Associated…)
Yolanda Quesada received recognition rewards, service excellence pins and other accolades over the last five years for her work as a customer service representative in the home mortgage department of Wells Fargo.
Then suddenly last week, she was fired. The bank had found that Quesada had been arrested for shoplifting 40 years ago when she was 18, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which first reported the story.
The bank said it has no choice but to sever ties with employees found to have certain types of criminal records.
"Because Wells Fargo is an insured depository institution, we are bound by federal law that generally prohibits us from hiring or continuing the employment of any person who we know has a criminal record involving dishonesty or breach of trust," a bank spokesman told the newspaper.
The bank declined to comment specifically on Quesada's situation, except to say she was "not terminated for performance."
Quesada, 58, who didn't handle money as part of her job, admitted that she was arrested twice back then for shoplifting clothing at a time when her family was poor and she needed something to wear for her job. For the infractions, she said she paid a $50 fine and spent a year on probation.
She said she had not lied when applying for the Wells Fargo job because, as she recalled, she had been asked only if she had been convicted of any felonies.
The bank said it began running thorough background checks on current employees last year. Other employees found to have charges on their records were also let go, the newspaper reported.
Quesada, who worked out of one of the bank's Milwaukee offices, received a letter that a background check had turned up the shoplifting, and was fired two days later.
She has hired an attorney and asked that she be reinstated to her $33,000-a-year job.
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