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California workers may be interested to learn about a June report accusing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of maintaining a hostile work environment. The report, which was issued by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, says that agency employees find managers discriminatory and are reluctant to speak out for fear of retaliation.

For the report, the GOA surveyed CFPB employees about workplace culture issues such as fair treatment, trust they could report problems without fear of repercussions, confidence in complaint processes and more. Overall, more than 25 percent of agency employees reported unfavorable views on culture issues, and the dissatisfaction rate was higher than 35 percent in certain demographic groups and CFPB branches. For instance, around one-third of all survey participants reported that success in the agency was tied to favoritism rather than merit. However, that number jumped to 40 percent for black respondents and workers at CFPB branches that examine institutions.

Over the last three years, the CFPB has been under fire for discriminating against employees based on age, gender and race. The GAO notes the agency has initiated some policy changes to combat the issue but claims more must be done. In particular, the report says the CFPB needs to comprehensively document and report its progress on culture issues and consult with its employee union to create feedback tools on its employee grievance processes.

California workers have the right to a fair and inclusive workplace environment. They also have the right to report discrimination without fear of reprisals. Individuals who believe they have been the victim of workplace discrimination or retaliation may find it advisable to meet with an attorney in order to determine the recourse that may be available.

Source: NMP, "GAO Blasts CFPB for Continued Workplace Discrimination," Phil Hall, June 21, 2016

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