An FDIC supervisor invited his staff to a strip club, according to a report from WSJ.
Other male workers sent unsolicited nude pictures to female staffers, the publication reported.
The Journal interviewed over 100 current and former FDIC staff about the agency’s culture.
The work culture at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation might not be as buttoned up and professional as one would expect, according to a recent investigation from The Wall Street Journal.
Reporting from interviews with over 100 current and former FDIC employees, as well as analysis of complaints and legal filings, the Journal said the regulator fostered a “toxic atmosphere” and failed to take action against alleged incidents of sexual harassment.
The FDIC is an independent agency that is funded by insurance premiums paid by banks and it helps insure deposits, as well as examines banks in order to protect consumers. It employs over 10,000 permanent and temporary workers.
The Journal’s report details instances where a supervisor invited staff to a strip club and male workers sent their female colleagues unsolicited nude pictures. The men who engaged in the activities did not lose their jobs, according to the report.
An FDIC spokesperson told Insider the organization plans to conduct periodic reviews of its policies and programs around harassment and discrimination and it continually seeks feedback from workers.
“Harassment in any form is contrary to the FDIC’s values and our deep commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace,” the spokesperson said. “We have various training, reporting, and oversight programs that endeavor to create a safe and equitable environment where all employees can feel valued and respected. When we identify misconduct, we investigate and take appropriate action.”
In 2020, the organization’s inspector general criticized the FDIC’s investigations into sexual harassment, calling them “decentralized, untimely, incomplete, and inaccurate,” the Journal reported. At the time, the agency reportedly made changes to its policies.
An FDIC spokesperson told the Journal that instances of sexual harassment have not been reported at the agency since 2020.
Two supervisors told the Journal they’d either visited strips clubs with their colleagues after work or invited staff to a strip club. One supervisor, Trevor McIntosh, said the organization had not told him that visiting the strip clubs was a problem and “he didn’t know why it would have been,” the Journal reported.
In 2015, McIntosh addressed concerns from management regarding complaints about his leadership — including some comments he’d allegedly made about a worker’s sex life — by writing a memo detailing how he planned to work on his communication skills. Seven years later, he moved to a non-managerial position within the FDIC, the Journal reported.
Similarly in 2013, another supervisor, Hien Nguyen, reportedly invited male colleagues to a “sex cafe” that he told the Journal was “more of a club/strip joint.” The FDIC demoted Nguyen after multiple workers told management that the supervisor had allegedly made homophobic and harassing comments to staff. Nguyen has since gone on to serve in a management position at another regulator, according to the Journal.
“It was my error and lack of judgment,” Nguyen told the Journal. “I moved on, and I’ve learned from it.”
McIntosh and Nguyen did not respond to requests for comment from Insider ahead of publication.
Multiple former female employees from the FDIC also told the Journal their colleagues had sent them unsolicited nude photos.
Some FDIC employees spent long periods of time on the road visiting different banks, which meant staff would go out drinking while on the road, the Journal reported. The organization also has its own hotel near Washington D.C., which the publication described as a “party hub” where workers had been known to pee off the roof or throw up in the elevator.
The FDIC told the Journal that the hotel helps the agency save money, and if it learned any worker was drinking too much it would investigate and they would face possible termination.
On Monday, the FDIC told staff it had brought on an independent agency to look into the allegations of harassment and discrimination at the FDIC, the Journal reported just hours after it published its initial investigation.
The FDIC is one of many organizations in the banking industry to come under scrutiny in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
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