According to a lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County, Wells Fargo allegedly fired an employee to avoid paying medical costs for his daughter, a cancer patient.
Three days prior to an important surgery, the company terminated Yovany Gonzalez, a securities broker, after questioning his wife about the cost of their daughter Macenzie’s medical care. She died seven months later.
The official reasoning given by Wells Fargo for his termination was that Gonzalez had falsified his time records and had “stolen from the company.”
Wells Fargo on the other hand, claims Gonzalez was fired due to allegedly falsifying his time records. His supervisor has since defended Gonzalez, saying it was fine that he could not remember his exact hours. His schedule had been varied since Mackenzie was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2008, as her father began working from other locations to accommodate her treatment schedule.
Surgery was eventually paid for by charitable donations. Gonzalez’s lawyer, Jack Scarola, called Wells Fargo’s decision “a case of heart versus pocketbook.”
The little girl’s surgery at Sloan Kettering was eventually paid for through charitable donations, Scarola said.
“Because of federal patient privacy issues, we cannot comment on this specific case,” the hospital said in a statement.
“But know that Memorial Sloan-Kettering would never, ever abandon a child who needs our care.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Wells Fargo waited too long to give Gonzalez information on continuing his insurance. The Huffington Post points out that the company was still on the hook for costs because of COBRA.
While you are entitled to extend your employer health insurance coverage under the COBRA law if you lose your job, as long as you pay the full premium, it took more than 90 days for Wells Fargo to send Gonzalez information about how to extend his health insurance policy under COBRA, said paralegal Walter Stein, who is helping represent Gonzalez.
Though he has since gained employment at Chase Bank, Gonzalez makes less money because Chase will not allow him to sell securities due to the reasons surrounding his termination.
This lawsuit paints Wells Fargo in horrible light, as a company placing profit before people:
“This was a loss of an innocent child’s life,” Jack Scarola, Gonzalez’s lawyer, told The Huffington Post. “There were [some] Wells Fargo employees who not only lacked compassion but seemed to have been motivated by entirely improper concerns about finances.”