Press Releases

Subcommittee Seeks to Hold CFPB Accountable As Whistleblowers Testify of Discrimination and Retaliation

Washington, June 25, 2015 -


The House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing today to hear new evidence from employees of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) about discrimination and retaliation at their workplace.

The Committee first began investigating allegations of widespread discrimination and retaliation against CFPB employees in April of 2014. Today’s hearing is the fourth at which CFPB employees have testified about discrimination and retaliation at the Bureau. At two other hearings, Committee members directed questions about the employees’ allegations and the CFPB’s unacceptable workplace environment to the Bureau’s director, Richard Cordray, who promised to take action.

"Of all the federal financial agencies, the CFPB has the worst track record of protecting its own employees against discrimination. The per capita number of Equal Employment Opportunity complaints at the CFPB is far higher than at other federal agencies. Despite disturbing reports of low morale and Congressional investigations, the leadership at the CFPB continues to turn a blind eye to the treatment of its own people," said Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI). "The CFPB is more concerned with bad press than the underlying problem, and has done little more than run an ineffective internal PR campaign to assuage employee concerns."

Key Takeaways from the Hearing:

  • Despite the Committee’s urging of Director Cordray to take appropriate action to address discrimination and retaliation at the CFPB, over the past year this unacceptable behavior has gotten worse.
  • New evidence indicates that a culture of discrimination and retaliation still permeates the CFPB, showing the need for greater accountability and oversight of the agency in order to ensure that serious issues such as these are addressed effectively and promptly.
  • Any action that the CFPB has already taken to address discrimination and retaliation against employees has been ineffective and insufficient.
Topline Quotes from Witnesses:

"CFPB employees proudly serve their country, and they deserve the Bureau to treat them in a fair and consistent manner, just like the CFPB expects financial businesses to treat consumers. Unfortunately, the CFPB has not lived up to its own standards. The word “allegations” should be removed from this hearing’s title – discrimination and retaliation against CPFB employees is a fact. The CFPB’s management, all the way to the very top, has not exhibited the leadership, compassion, or skills needed to satisfactorily achieve the mission set forth in the Dodd-Frank Act.”

“Director Cordray’s inaction over the past year has created a more discriminatory, challenging, and intimidating workplace for CFPB employees.”

“Hubris, persecution, retaliation, discrimination. These are not words one would associate with an agency that is supposed to protect American consumers from these very same vices in the financial industry. It is my belief, based on careful consideration and talks with employees for the past two years, that the Bureau does not have the capacity to clean someone else’s house when they cannot get their own house in order.”

- Robert Cauldwell, President of the National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 335 and CFPB Examiner

"Never until my employment at the CFPB have I witnessed such blatant and willful disregard for the law, merit system principles, and the well-being of its employees.”

“Because of the CFPB’s mission, I believed I was joining an EEO program where the rule of law was respected, and the workforce would be treated with civility, dignity, and professionalism. Unfortunately, my experience at the Bureau has been a radical departure from the 32 years that preceded it.”

“It is disheartening that after three Congressional hearings and nearly two years of my attempts to address these issues internally that no appreciable progress has been made.”

“I am frequently approached by colleagues who tell me they are being subjected to maltreatment and discrimination, but who fear they will face reprisal if they seek help through OCR’s EEO process.”

- Florine Williams, Senior Equal Employment Specialist, Office of Civil Rights, CFPB

Print version of this document