Search ‘underway’ for law firm to oversee review of FDIC sexual harassment claims

A search for a law firm to conduct an independent review of the workplace culture of the federal insurer of bank deposits is underway, according to a statement issued by the special committee of agency’s board issued late Tuesday.

On Nov. 21, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) announced it had formed a “special committee” to oversee an independent review of the agency’s workplace culture amid ongoing reporting of past allegations of sexual harassment and other misconduct at the agency.

The committee, established unanimously by the board and apparently to have five members in all, includes co-chairs FDIC Directors Jonathan McKernan and Michael J. Hsu (who is also acting comptroller of the currency).

According to the statement, the special committee said it “is committed to finalizing the selection of the third-party reviewer as soon as practicable and completing the onboarding process soon thereafter.” The committee added that it began an expedited solicitation of law firms to engage one or more to conduct the independent review immediately after the panel was formed.

The committee’s charge, according to the Tuesday statement, is to “provide direction to and oversee an independent third-party review of allegations of sexual harassment and interpersonal misconduct at the FDIC and management’s response to that harassment and misconduct.”

The latest statement added that the independent review will also assess the FDIC’s workplace culture, including any practices that might discourage or deter the reporting of or responding to sexual harassment and interpersonal misconduct.

Members of the FDIC Board, in November, called the review “a top priority.”

Statement by the Special Committee of the FDIC Board on the Status of the Independent Review