The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is under scrutiny from lawmakers and its own board members, following an article in The Wall Street Journal that alleges the agency was host to a toxic workplace environment of sexual harassment, misogyny, and a “heavy drinking culture.”
One particular venue for this behavior was an 11-story hotel owned by the FDIC, located in Arlington.
The Wall Street Journal’s article, titled “Strip Clubs, Lewd Photos and a Boozy Hotel: The Toxic Atmosphere at Bank Regulator FDIC,” cites interviews with over 100 current and former employees who say that “female examiners left the FDIC because of what they say was a sexualized, boys’ club environment and the belief they were consistently given fewer opportunities than their male counterparts.”
Female employees reported incidents in which supervisors sent unsolicited photos, made sexual remarks, and pressured employees to visit strip clubs together.
The agency’s hotel in Arlington was a particular hub for the party culture, the article reports.
“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,” the article said.
“Employees, from new hires to supervisors, often gathered on the roof for drinks, buying alcohol at the nearby liquor store. 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 article continued.
Following the article’s release, two Republican members of the FDIC board called for an investigation into the allegations.
“All FDIC employees are entitled to a professional workplace that respects and values their contributions. The conduct reported by The Wall Street Journal earlier this week has no place at this agency or anywhere in the workforce and should not be tolerated,” said vice chairman Travis Hill and director Jonathan McKernan in a joint statement.
In a Tuesday meeting of the Senate Banking Committee, senators questioned FDIC chairman Martin Gruenberg over how the agency will handle these allegations.
“What the hell is going on at the FDIC?” asked Sen. John Kennedy.
Gruenberg told the panel he was previously unaware of the allegations, and that the agency had hired law firm BakerHostetler to lead a review of the agency’s culture, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Feature image, stock.adobe.com
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