CFPB discriminates against women, minorities – union rep

by Ryan Smith22 May 2014
The House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Wednesday continued its investigation into allegations of discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The subcommittee heard testimony from several witnesses who were subpoenaed to appear.

“The fact is that discrimination on the basis of race, sex or other prohibited factors is destructive, morally repugnant, and against the law,” said subcommittee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.). “All government agencies, including the CFPB, must continue to combat discrimination in employment and punish those responsible for discrimination.”

Ben Konop, executive vice president of the CFPB’s employee union, testified that the union had repeatedly expressed concern about the agency’s performance review system.

“We alleged that women and minority employees were being underpaid when compared to similarly situated white male colleagues,” Konop said. “To date, the Bureau has denied each of these grievances at all stages, often using inconsistent reasoning, despite what I feel is convincing evidence of low pay for numerous women and minority workers.”

Allegations of discrimination at the CFPB came to light in March, when an American Banker article described an alleged culture of favoritism. In April, the House subcommittee heard the testimony of whistleblower Angela Martin, who said CFPB leadership discriminated against her and retaliated when she complained.

Martin testified “there is a pervasive culture of retaliation and intimidation that silences employees and chills the workforce from exposing wrongdoing.”

“During my time in Congress, I have yet to witness an outpouring of employee complaints from a federal agency's employees such as I have seen from the CFPB since the American Banker article was released and this Subcommittee announced that we would be investigating the matter,” McHenry said Wednesday.


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