Federal Agency Elizabeth Warren Helped Found is Rife with Discrimination, Employees Say

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee member US Sen. Elizabeth Warren questions Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray in June. Cordray was delivering the CFPB semi-annual report. Getty Images

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the most recent addition to the lengthy list of federal agencies – and the realization of a proposal from then-Harvard professor and current US Sen. Elizabeth Warren – has done its fair share to keep the financial industry honest.

This much is undisputed.

But to some of its workers, the agency, which was founded in 2011, lacks that same effort in protecting its own employees against varying forms of discrimination, including racism, according to a new report.

There are currently “scores of cases of U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau employees seeking protection from racially offensive, sexist or discriminatory behavior,’’ according to The Washington Times.


One case detailed in the report surrounds a CFPB bank examiner who was not born in the United States being called a “[expletive] foreigner’’ by his bosses.

Another case includes a CFPB department being labeled “the Plantation’’ by its white supervisors because of the amount of African-American workers there, The Times reports.

The report chronicles several other alleged instances of discrimination, many with an emphasis on unfair promotion practices and lopsided pay scales for minorities working at CFPB.

During her successful run for US Senate in 2012, Sen. Warren, who says she is of Native American descent, came under fire for listing herself as a minority in legal directories.


The agency said it was aware of what it called “complaints’’ and was working toward a resolution, reported The Washington Times:

CFPB acknowledges its employees’ complaints about a hostile working environment and says it is working with the National Treasury Employees Union — which represents CFPB employees — to settle worker protests and iron out new performance reviews, which are at the heart of many of the protests.

Sen. Warren, who just last month told MassLive that the three-year-old “consumer agency is a great resource’’ that “is already making a difference for people here in Massachusetts and across the country,’’ helped conceive the agency in the wake of the 2009 financial crisis.

A request for comment from Sen. Warren was not immediately returned.

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