Press Releases

Hensarling Statement on Continued Discrimination Problems at the CFPB


Washington, June 21, 2016 -

One-quarter of black, Asian and female employees responding to a government watchdog’s confidential survey of employees said they have been the victims of discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), which did the survey at the request of members of the House Financial Services Committee, has released its findings. The Committee began an investigation of the CFPB’s treatment of its employees after whistleblowers came forward starting in 2014 with allegations of discrimination and retaliation.

Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) made the following comments about the GAO’s report:

“This report from the non-partisan GAO confirms that there are serious problems of discrimination and retaliation by managers against employees at the CFPB. This is exactly what multiple whistleblowers told our committee.

“Only one man has the power to fix this immediately, and that’s Richard Cordray. As the report makes clear, this inexcusable behavior at the CFPB continues despite what are, at best, half-hearted attempts by Mr. Cordray to deal with it.For at least three years, Mr. Cordray has been presented time and again with evidence that CFPB managers discriminate and retaliate against his employees – from a report the CFPB commissioned in 2013, from whistleblowers, from Congress, from the Federal Reserve’s Inspector General and now from the Government Accountability Office. Why haven’t heads rolled? Instead of trying to sweep this offensive behavior under the rug, why hasn’t Richard Cordray called someone on the carpet? How can employees expect this to stop if no one in management is going to be held accountable?

“There is an alarming lack of accountability at the CFPB. This has got to change.”

The GAO report, “Additional Actions Needed to Support a Fair and Inclusive Workplace,” found that:

  • Nearly one-in-five (18 percent) respondents reported that they have been discriminated against at the CFPB.
  • Fully one-quarter of all black, Asian, and female respondents reported that they have been discriminated against.

  • One-quarter or more of respondents in the Office of Consumer Response and the Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending (SEFL) division also reported experiencing discrimination.
  • One-third of survey respondents did not believe success at CFPB is based more on merit than on personal connections to managers or favoritism.
  • Results were even higher among black respondents (41 percent) and among female respondents (37 percent).
  • In open-ended responses to the survey, several employees cited specific instances of a colleague appearing to be selected for a more senior position or other opportunity based on a personal connection to a manager.
  • Among the survey respondents who filed Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints or grievances, many expressed dissatisfaction.
  • 71 percent of respondents who filed an EEO complaint or grievance did not believe that CFPB management made a good faith effort to resolve the complaint informally.
  • Several employees cited examples of cases in which a complainant’s privacy was compromised when information about the complaint was shared by managers, the EEO office, or the Office of Human Capital with individuals without a need to know about the complaint.
  • About half of respondents who reported experience with the EEO process disagreed that the CFPB’s Office of Civil Rights is a neutral party free of conflicting or competing interests.
  • More than one-quarter of respondents (27 percent) did not believe employees in their offices felt comfortable raising concerns or disagreeing with superiors without fear of negative consequences.
  • More than one-quarter of respondents (28 percent) did not have confidence that they could pursue a complaint without fear of reprisal.
  • About 9 percent of respondents reported that they havepersonally experienced retaliation.
  • About 10 percent of respondents reported they personally observed retaliation against another employee.
  • Bureau-wide, over a third of respondents did not believe that the CFPB had a culture of accountability. Specifically, 39 percent of female respondents reported concerns about accountability.
  • About one-in-four respondents (23 percent) thought that managers are not held accountable with respect to how they manage people and personnel issues.
  • Responses were higher in the Office of Consumer Response (33 percent), the Office of Human Capital (49 percent) and an office in the SEFL division (52 percent).
  • Several employees expressed concerns that managers who they believed to have engaged in discrimination, favoritism, or other wrongdoing had not been held accountable.
  • More than 30 percent of survey respondents believed that morale at the CFPB is bad.
  • Respondents in some offices that reported lower morale also expressed greater dissatisfaction with CFPB's efforts to retain talented employees.
  • In the SEFL and Operations divisions, more than 30 percent of employees disagreed, and more than 45 percent disagreed that their office retains talented and qualified employees.

Failure to Address Management Problems

  • The CFPB has failed to complete 7 of 17 recommendations from the Federal Reserve’s Inspector General March 4, 2015, audit of the CFPB’sactivities related to diversity and inclusion.

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