Current and former employees at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said the banking regulator fostered a toxic work environment rife with sexual harassment and misogyny that drove women to leave the agency, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Employees described a sexualized, boys club culture at the agency, in which some female staff felt they were repeatedly passed over for assignments and denied opportunities to advance, the Journal reported.
One former female employee said a male colleague complained to her about his marriage and sex life, reportedly telling her, “Obviously if I walked into this office and you were naked, I’d f— you right here.”
She also said senior colleagues recommended that she not bring up a negative performance review she received, telling her the male reviewer was “just intimidated by tall, beautiful women” and suggesting she “just smile and make him feel good,” according to the Journal.
Another ex-employee said her supervisor referred to her as a male colleague’s girlfriend and asked the colleague about her sex life on golf outings.
The same woman also told the Journal that she was followed back to her hotel room by a male colleague, sent an unsolicited naked photo and invited to a strip club while working at the FDIC.
Employees described a heavy drinking culture at the agency as well, particularly at a hotel near Washington that hosts out-of-town employees for trainings and on the road while traveling to banks across the country, according to the Journal.
The FDIC reportedly agreed to make changes after the agency’s inspector general found in a 2020 report that its sexual harassment policies fell short.
The regulator told the Journal that it has not identified any sexual harassment-related issues since.
“Harassment in any form is contrary to the FDIC’s values and our deep commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace,” an agency official said.
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