Following allegations of racial and gender discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the bureau’s director, Richard Cordray spoke before the House Financial Services Committee Wednesday. Cordray said the bureau is working to improve the working environment and review processes for its employees.
“Because of the speed with which we tried to build this new agency, we have found that we did not get everything right for our own employees,” Cordray told House members after describing his own sense of urgency to “get things done” amid “tremendous pressure.”
About half of all employee grievances filed with the CFPB have concerned employee performance reviews, according to Cordray, and the bureau is now overhauling its review process.
“Whether the distinction was headquarters versus field, or one part of the Bureau versus another, or bargaining unit versus non-bargaining unit employees, or other categories like age and race, we perceived that the review system was creating differential outcomes that indicated the system was unsatisfactory and not working out as intended,” Cordray said during Wednesday’s hearing.
He also stated his intention to bring the bureau’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion into his office, where he can monitor it closely. The office has begun “Bureau-wide listening sessions” in which employees discuss their personal experiences at work.
While Cordray would not discuss any individual discrimination complaints, he said, “We take each of these allegations very seriously and we will continue to work diligently to resolve any issues through all appropriate channels.”
The CFPB’s senior enforcement attorney, Angela Martin, told the same House committee earlier this year she is “a victim of discrimination by the Bureau” and she has suffered “severe retaliation” since filing a complaint. She further ventured that her experience is “a microcosm of the larger story of what happens to individuals within the Bureau when they step forward with complaints of wrongdoing.”