Earlier in the week, we mentioned the allegations of gender-based discrimination at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. A lawyer has testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee regarding the retaliation her supervisor took following her complaint of gender discrimination, but that is not the only kind of workplace discrimination that is allegedly plaguing the bureau.
The lawyer also testified that many African-American employees have a difficult time leaving a specific division of the bureau's consumer response division. Whether they are being passed up for promotion or are being denied lateral moves because of their skin color, these allegations, if true, would be a violation of federal employment law.
As it is, the lawyer has also said that this division is frequently called "the plantation" or "cesspool." The division is primarily staffed by African-American employees. This alone could be evidence of the bureau creating a hostile work environment.
In addition to accusations of workplace discrimination based on race, the lawyer also told a story about an employee who said he had been called an "F-ing foreigner" in a general meeting. The employee is an immigrant to the U.S.
While this testimony has yet to be confirmed, if it is true, it would be strong evidence of a general culture that is hostile to employees of color and immigrant employees. Just like employees of private businesses, government workers should be able to expect workplaces that are free of discrimination. Sadly, that is not always the case, prompting many employees to seek the assistance of employment lawyers to file discrimination claims. Whether through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or in court, a discrimination claim can rectify any damages suffered and work to improve overall workplace culture.
Source: Politico, "Employee alleges workplace of discrimination, retaliation at CFPB," MJ Lee, April 21, 2014