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Region 9 News Release: 11-1351-SAN
Sept. 14, 2011
Contact: Deanne Amaden      Jesse Lawder
Phone: 415-625-2630      202-693-4659
Email: lupton.jeannine@dol.gov      lawder.jesse@dol.gov

US Department of Labor finds Bank of America in violation of
Sarbanes-Oxley Act whistleblower protection provisions
Bank ordered to reinstate fired employee and pay $930,000

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America Corp. in violation of the whistleblower protection provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for improperly firing an employee. The bank has been ordered to reinstate and pay the employee approximately $930,000, which includes back wages, interest, compensatory damages and attorney fees. The findings follow an investigation by OSHA's San Francisco Regional Office, which was initiated after receiving a complaint from the Los Angeles-area employee.

"It's clear from our investigation that Bank of America used illegal retaliatory tactics against this employee," said OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels. "This employee showed great courage reporting potential fraud and standing up for the rights of other employees to do the same."

The employee originally worked for Countrywide Financial Corp., which merged with Bank of America in July 2008. The employee led internal investigations that revealed widespread and pervasive wire, mail and bank fraud involving Countrywide employees. The employee alleged that those who attempted to report fraud to Countrywide's Employee Relations Department suffered persistent retaliation. The employee was fired shortly after the merger.

"Whistleblowers play a vital role in ensuring the integrity of our financial system, as well as the safety of our food, air, water, workplace