FDIC Facing Probe Over Workplace Harassment

The FDIC’s leadership’s handling of harassment and other improper workplace claims is the subject of a “special probe” that the FDIC inspector general intends to initiate. After an inspector general’s office report in 2020 indicated that the FDIC’s policies were inadequate, the investigation will assess the agency’s leadership climate with respect to inappropriate behavior and harassment in general, and it will examine the FDIC’s attempts to reform its policies.

The agency is under further scrutiny now that the Wall Street Journal has documented employee accusations of a hostile work environment at the agency that is characterized by harassment and sexism.

According to accounts provided by former female workers to the Journal, they were subjected to improper remarks by male colleagues at the FDIC. Additionally, they claimed to have been persistently overlooked for assignments and denied chances for advancement. During a hearing earlier this month, FDIC Chair Martin Gruenberg expressed his “personally concerned and very saddened” feelings about the claims and said the agency would conduct a “full inquiry” into the scandal.

House Financial Services Committee top Republicans, including Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) and Subcommittee Chairmen Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), have announced that they would be investigating the claims and their possible effects on “the safety and soundness of the banking system.”

Because the FDIC’s treatment of sexism allegations was inadequate, a “new assessment project” would assess the agency’s reform initiatives, according to former director Sheila Bair, who led the department from 2006 to 2011.

Chair Martin Gruenberg has recently been in the middle of controversy, with Republican senators calling for his resignation in response to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Now, the subsequent inquiry will center on FDIC leadership, adding to the uncertainty in his position. Several women left the company because of the working circumstances, leading others to wonder whether the FDIC’s oversight weakened due to the large number of bank failures this year.