The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has settled a class action suit first brought against it in 2018 by Black and Hispanic employees over issues of alleged discrimination and retaliation, according to court documents reviewed by HousingWire.
The settlement of $6 million will be distributed to “a class of 85 Black/African American and/or Hispanic Bureau employees in certain jobs within the Office of Consumer Response, administration costs, any court-approved attorneys’ fees and costs, and any court-approved Service Awards,” according to the class-approved settlement agreement.
The suit, first filed in 2018 against the CFPB by plaintiffs Carzanna Jones and Heynard L. Paz-Chow and against its then-Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, alleged that the Bureau exhibited “unlawful treatment of racial minorities and women and to achieve meaningful reform,” the original complaint said.
The behavior reportedly stretched back to the earliest days of the Bureau after its founding in 2011, with the attorneys for the plaintiffs citing congressional investigations in 2014 featuring witness statements they said corroborated the claims in the lawsuit.
“This lawsuit is brought by Plaintiffs on behalf of themselves and all other minority employees and women who work or worked as Consumer Response Specialists and have been subjected to and harmed by the Bureau’s agency-wide pattern or practice of discrimination and retaliation and discriminatory policies and practices,” according to the 2018 complaint.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs and those who represent the class describe the settlement as “fair, reasonable, and adequate, and easily satisfies the criteria for preliminary approval,” the attorneys said. “Indeed, the Settlement was reached following expansive discovery including the exchange of over 100,000 documents, […] fact witness depositions, and expert analysis of Bureau compensation data.”
Presiding Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia must still approve the settlement.
In a statement, the CFPB said it sees this as a legacy issue that does not apply to the current standards of the organization.
“This settlement of a 2018 lawsuit resolves claims from the early years of the CFPB’s history,” a Bureau spokesperson told HousingWire. “The CFPB remains committed to ensuring all employees are treated fairly.”