Report raps FDIC for inadequate sexual harassment prevention program; urges steps to adopt policies, practices

An adequate sexual harassment prevention program has not been established by the federal insurer of bank deposits – and the agency should improve its policies and practices to facilitate reporting of any harassment, a report released Monday by the agency’s watchdog stated.

According to the office of inspector general (OIG) for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the agency had not developed a sexual harassment prevention program that “fully aligned” with five core principals by the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Those are: committed, engaged leadership; strong, comprehensive harassment policies; trusted, accessible complaint procedures; regular, interactive training; and consistent, demonstrated accountability.

Further, the report from the OIG stated that FDIC leadership, while demonstrating commitment to preventing sexual harassment (through use of emails and the agency’s strategic plan), had not established a strategy to prevent harassment at the agency.

The report stated that the agency “had not established a strategy, such as the use of rewards or performance reviews, to acknowledge employees, supervisors, and managers, for creating and maintaining a culture in which harassment is not tolerated and for promptly reporting, investigating, and resolving harassment complaints.”

The OIG recommended the agency improve its policies, procedures and training so that employees and supervisors know how to identify and report sexual harassment, and ensure that reporting does not result in fear of retaliation; supervisors know how to promptly and effectively address sexual harassment misconduct; and discipline is proportionate to the level of misconduct.

“FDIC policies did not clearly define sexual harassment, include all avenues of reporting allegations of sexual harassment, or clearly describe the roles and responsibilities for preventing sexual harassment and monitoring allegations of such misconduct,” the report stated. “Although the FDIC had developed and implemented adequate procedures to address unlawful sexual harassment complaints through OMWI (Office of Minority and Women Inclusion), we found that it had not developed procedures for addressing sexual harassment misconduct allegations.”

FDIC OIG Report: Preventing and Addressing Sexual Harassment