Despite the number of laws enacted to prohibit racial and gender discrimination in the workplace, it still appears to persist. While it is natural to assume that employers should simply know better, employees may still be reluctant to bring legitimate claims to light out of fear that they will be retaliated against.
Indeed, taking retaliatory measures against an employee for voicing genuine claims about discrimination is illegal. However, a number of employees may still be afraid to raise their voices because they do not want to lose the jobs they already have. Moreover, they may fear that they will be singled out and ostracized for standing up for themselves.
Such is likely the case at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). According to a recent Politico report, there appears to be a pervasive culture of discrimination and retaliation that gone unchecked for several years. A lawyer in the enforcement division recently testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee. She explained that there are a number of victims that are afraid of speaking out because they fear what would happen to them.
Naturally, there is a political angle to the problem, as there is growing tension between CFPB leadership, which are ostensibly democrats, and subcommittee leaders, who are republicans. In fact, the CFPB was supposedly created over the objections of several republicans, who appear to be intent on limiting the bureau’s powers.
Meanwhile, the lawyer who testified described her experience with how her supervisor retaliated against her after she filed a complaint of gender discrimination against another employee. Nevertheless, the story is yet another example of why it is important to involve a lawyer in discrimination cases.
Source: Politico.com “Employee alleges workplace discrimination, retaliation at CFPB,” MJ Lee, April 2, 2014