CFPB staffers may be paid more than other federal agencies, but more money doesn’t seem to equal better treatment. At a House Financial Services subcommittee meeting this week, former CFPB quality assurance monitor Kevin Williams described how the agency belittles its black employees–even reinforcing stereotypes by offering employees fried chicken at a company lunch.
“I personally witnessed and was the victim of racial discrimination perpetrated by black as well as white managers. The unit was dubbed the ‘plantation,’ because when we started, the majority of black employees were assigned to intake, which was basically data entry.”
Williams wasn’t the only CFPB employee to shed light on the agency’s racist practices. Current employee Ali Naraghi told the members of the committee that working for the CFPB is a “living hell” and “Unfortunately, the (CFPB’s southeast division) is run by intimidation and, like a dictatorship, there are significant consequences for disagreeing or disobeying the king.”
Nargaghi told the members, “Many managers, especially within the southeast region, are withholding promotions of internal candidates while bringing in external candidates from their personal or other connections. In short, favoritism and cronyism runs rampant at the bureau.”
The CFPB’s own 2013 internal report report reveals that this pattern of discrimination is widespread. Even the agency’s director director Richard Cordray noted that employee ratings from 2012 and 2013 showed “broad-based disparities” in several areas including: race/ethnicity, age, bargaining unit membership eligibility, location in the field or at headquarters, and tenure as a CFPB employee.