A special committee is being tasked with addressing recent FDIC toxic workplace allegations. That’s according to an announcement from the regulatory body. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chair Martin Gruenberg has promised to make the agency’s alleged toxic culture a priority.
What are the FDIC toxic workplace allegations about?
Recent weeks have seen a flurry of stories alleging rampant sexual harassment and other misconduct at the agency. Earlier in November, the Wall Street Journal began reporting on claims from nearly two dozen former female employees of the agency. Those women had painted a picture of an agency awash in misogyny, sexual harassment, and bullying.
The WSJ report included claims that male supervisors in FDIC offices engaged in a pattern of toxic behaviors. One allegedly had sex with an employee, bragged about it in the office, and even pressured her to consume alcohol during working hours. Another invited his employees to a strip club. The women interviewed by the Journal suggested that there was no real accountability for that behavior.
The party atmosphere even had its own “headquarters” which was reportedly considered a virtual embassy for employees:
“The FDIC’s 11-story hotel outside Washington, where out-of-town employees stay when attending training, was a party hub, where people have vomited in the elevator and urinated off the roof after nights of heavy drinking…Some employees joked that the hotel is like an embassy: If they can get back to the hotel after creating chaos at nearby bars, they’ll be fine.”
The committee to investigate allegations
According to reports, acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu and Jonathan McKernan will be co-chairs for the special committee. Hsu is a Democrat and McKernan is a Republican. Notably, both men are members of the FDIC board. McKernan has previously called for Gruenberg to commit to recusing himself from any involvement in the review.
The resolution creating the committee review reportedly includes measures to protect the review’s integrity. For example, agency management and board members who were not named to the committee will be barred from involvement in the review.
Other recent reports have suggested that there are no plans for Gruenberg to resign his post. In recent days, Republican lawmakers have cited the FDIC toxic workplace allegations as they’ve called for the embattled chairman to quit.