Three female senators are probing the Securities and Exchange Commission and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority on how widespread sexual harassment is in the financial services sector.
According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, the “finance and insurance” sector generated the ninth-largest number of sexual harassment claims filed with the agency from 2005 through 2015, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; and Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nevada, wrote in their letters to the two regulators.
The financial services industry employs more than 6 million people, the senators wrote, and while other “high-level financial managers were forced to step down amid harassment allegations” in the last year, the financial sector “has had fewer public revelations of sexual harassment” than other industries.
“The silence,” the lawmakers argued, “appears to result from strong ‘cultural and financial forces’ in the industry that discourage speaking out, including payout of large settlements with nondisclosure agreements to harassment victims, class-action prohibitions, and forced arbitration.”