Labor Secretary Dodges On Whether She’ll Probe Federal Entity Over Alleged Sexual Harassment And Bigotry


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Jason Cohen Contributor
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Acting Labor Secretary Julie Su declined to commit to investigating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which is facing accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination.

The FDIC’s culture is plagued with various inappropriate behaviors such as “sexual harassment, discrimination, and other interpersonal misconduct,” according to a Tuesday report by law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, which was tasked with investigating the workplace in 2023. Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy pressed Su during a Thursday hearing about what she would do based on these findings but the acting secretary did not commit to taking any action to mitigate the alleged issues. (RELATED: ‘We’ve Got Some Cleanup To Do’: Former FDIC Chair Says There Will ‘Probably’ Be More Bank Failures)

“I think we’ve established, number one, that many supervisors and some members in the senior leadership at the FDIC are pigs, they are sexual predators, they are bigots,” Kennedy said. “Number two, this issue has been out there for some time since The Wall Street Journal broke the story … And so far the Department of Labor has said nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. In fact, I think you said you haven’t even read the reports and aren’t familiar with the issue. Maybe I’m overstating it and if I am, correct me. Number three, Madam Secretary, you have a long history, that I know you’re proud of passionate activism on behalf of employees.”


“So here’s my question. Are you, or are you not going to use your legal authority and moral authority, to open an investigation of the FDIC and help those young women over there and help those young people of color over there?” the senator asked.

Nearly one-in-ten employees at the FDIC reported misconduct in the workplace to the law firm’s tip line throughout the investigation.

“Senator, I am deeply concerned any time a working person goes to work and does not get the dignity and respect that they deserve,” Su said. “I am charged with enforcing certain laws based on the powers that Congress has given to the Department of Labor. I appreciate that you are raising an issue involving working people who have experienced clearly horrific sexual harassment, and other kinds of abuse, and what it demonstrates is that too often, workers may feel like they have to endure things that no one should have to endure because of a power imbalance in the workplace.”

Kennedy followed up by asking what Su will do about it.

“There’s an agency in the federal government who, presumably if the complaint has been made, will be investigating it,” Su said.

“This is gut-check time for you, Madam Acting Secretary,” Kennedy said. “You either believe in protecting workers or you don’t … We can debate how many lawyers can dance on the head of a pin, but you certainly have legal and moral authority to investigate labor violations. I’m honestly surprised. I thought that you would pounce on this like a ninja.”

“Like a what?” Su asked, with Kennedy repeating himself and saying that he has heard the expression in films.

Kennedy then asked if Su would call for senior leadership at the FDIC to resign, which the secretary did not answer.

The incidents at the FDIC “did not occur in a vacuum,” and were the result of a “misogynistic,” “patriarchal,” “insular” and “outdated” workplace, the report said.

Police responded to a rape report at a hotel owned by the FDIC in 2017, according to police documents obtained by conservative watchdog American Accountability Foundation and shared exclusively with the Daily Caller News Foundation. Employees used the 11-story hotel in Arlington, Virginia, as a hub for partying, The Wall Street Journal reported in November.

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