Discrimination and Retaliation

Numerous Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) employees have complained to the Office of the Inspector General and Congress that there is as a “culture of intimidation and retaliation” at the Bureau and raised allegations of mistreatment in the workplace.

“I believe that the root cause of the problems I have encountered at the bureau is management’s lack of accountability. The only consistent thing about CFPB management is its inconsistency. I am the naturalized U.S. citizen that bureau management referred to as an ‘f***ing foreigner.’"
- Ali Naraghi, bank examiner in the enforcement and fair lending division of the CFPB

(Read Naraghi’s full testimony here.)

One of the voices speaking out against the discrimination at the CFPB is the former President of the employee union at the CFPB, Rob Cauldwell. His congressional testimony in 2015 to educate Congress on the issues that exist at the CFPB was met with retaliation by Congressman Keith Ellison and Congresswoman Maxine Waters. They both retaliated against his claims of discrimination by publicly disclosing confidential and unsupported claims that were part of his employee record.

Office of Civil Rights Acknowledges Discrimination

On August, 23, 2016, the CFPB today, for the first time, acknowledged discrimination against an employee of the Bureau. The ruling by the Bureau’s Office of Civil Rights acknowledges discrimination in order to prevent the matter from going to a public EEOC proceeding. 

The findings include:

  • Failure to provide employee with an effective accommodation for disability-related limitations
  • Discouraging the employee from requesting leave as a type of reasonable accommodation
  • Giving the employee a negative mid-year performance evaluation that referenced the employee’s inability to perform job duties because of the employee’s disability
  • Penalizing 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. 

Majority of Americans Overwhelmingly Oppose Racial and Gender Discrimination at CFPB

In a poll conducted in June 2015 by Zogby Analytics for the US Consumer Coalition, Americans overwhelmingly registered their opposition to the CFPB being able to operate under different employment standards than other federal agencies.

  • 73% of respondents agree that the CFPB should be held to the same anti-discrimination standards as other federal agencies;
  • 66% of respondents said that CFPB Director [Richard Cordray] should be fired over an incident where it is alleged that CFPB officials referred to a division with a large number of African-American employees as ‘The Plantation’;
  • 66% of respondents said that the CFPB Director [Richard Cordray] should be fired over an incident where it is alleged that a CFPB official referred to an employee as an ‘f***ing foreigner”; and
  • 77% of respondents agreed that women with equal experience and qualifications should be paid the same as men at the CFPB.