In a First, CFPB Acknowledges Workplace Discrimination (NMP Magazine)

By Phil Hall

After years of ignoring public charges of workplace discrimination, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) made a rare admission that it discriminated against one of its staff.

According to a Daily Caller report, the CFPB’s Office of Civil Rights and Office of Equal Opportunity and Fairness sent a notice to the U.S. Consumer Coalition, an advocacy group, stating that the bureau “violated the Rehabilitation Act when it failed to provide an employee with an effective accommodation for disability-related limitations, when it discouraged the employees from requesting leave as a type of reasonable accommodation, when it gave the employee a negative midyear performance evaluation that referenced the employee’s inability to do job duties because of the employee’s disability, and when it penalized the employee for needing and using disability-related leave. Additionally, the Bureau violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when it retaliated against the employee because the employee spoke out against discrimination.”

The CFPB has previously been targeted by employees that complained of racial and gender discrimination, and these charges have been the subject of congressional hearings, a Government Accountability Office report and unflattering media coverage. However, the agency has never previously admitted any such problem existed, and the CFPB website avoided any mention of the subject. In making the CFPB’s admission public, U.S. Consumer Coalition President Brian J. Wise welcomed the statement as the beginning of internal change in how the CFPB operates.

“This finding is a huge step forward in reforming the CFPB and holding them accountable for their actions,” said Wise. “This shows they have no respect for their employees and confirms the dozens of reports of harassment, discrimination, and retaliation that we have received from current and former CFPB employees. In order for the CFPB to accomplish its original mandate from the Dodd-Frank Act, and restore credibility to this agency, we must see a change in leadership, structure, and culture at the CFPB, not with the employees, but with the management.”