CFPB Officials Say Agency Fails to Protect its Employees


Multiple Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) employees are scheduled to testify before the House Financial Services Committee this morning on the matter of discrimination and retaliation against CFPB employees.

These allegations were first made public last year as part of three public hearings during which it was revealed that positive performance reviews were less likely to be given to women, minorities, and older employees at the bureau.

At that time CFPB Director Richard Cordray issued a written address stating, “I take very seriously the concerns aired at your previous hearings about the Bureau’s work environment. I am committed to ensuring that all Bureau employees are treated fairly and that they receive the respect and dignity they deserve.”

Cordray also confirmed that decisive action was being taken to resolve these issues, and that the bureau would review performance-related pay for the two years prior, during which employees may have been negatively affected.

Florine Williams, Senior Equal Employment Specialist in the Office of Civil Rights at the CFPB, and Robert Cauldwell, President of the National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 335, which represents CFPB employees prepared testimonies for today’s hearing.

Williams describes what is unfolding at the CFPB, “I believe the Bureau’s apathy has contributed to the normalization and legitimization of blatant discrimination within the agency.” Williams goes on to affirm that this atmosphere is one her colleagues are hesitant to speak out against for fear of retaliation.

Cauldwell provided insight into this retaliation, “One agency tactic is making employees who complain report daily or every couple of days to their manager ‘just to check in,’ when others on their teams do not have to do so.”

Cauldwell articulated in his statement, “I truly believe that both parties want to fix the discrimination and retaliation problems at the CFPB, and I implore everyone here today to focus on these very human issues and do your best to avoid demagoguery.” He also expressed belief that Cordray is sincere in his desire to eradicate these offenses, but that action needs to be taken.

This hearing is part of an ongoing process, and it is a constructive component of the CFPB’s mission to create an equal and just work environment.

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