October 14, 2019

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New Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee of House Financial Services Committee holds inaugural hearing

One of the first actions taken by Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters upon becoming Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee was to announce the creation of a new Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I).

According to Politico, the new subcommittee held its inaugural hearing earlier this week at which the focus was a review of diversity trends in the finance industry, specifically a GAO report that found the representation of African-Americans and women in management roles had lagged in recent years.  Democratic Subcommittee Chairwoman Joyce Beatty is reported to have indicated that she plans to analyze diversity trends and data, exercise oversight of businesses and regulators, and consider legislation to “change the culture in government and industry.”  Republican Congresswoman Ann Wagner, who serves as the new subcommittee’s ranking member, is reported to have sent letters to regulatory agencies inquiring about their D&I efforts.

Chairwoman Waters was among the chief architects of Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act which created Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI) at all federal financial regulatory agencies, including at the CFPB.  OMWIs are responsible for developing standards to assess the D&I policies and practices relating to employment and third party contracting of their own agencies and of the financial entities they regulate.   In June 2015, the CFPB and the other federal financial regulatory agencies jointly issued a final policy statement establishing such standards (Final Standards).  The Final Standards became effective in June 2015 and envision that an entity will conduct an annual “self-assessment” of its D&I policies and practices and submit them to the Director of the OMWI of their primary federal financial regulator.

With the creation of the new D&I Subcommittee, financial institutions are likely to find their D&I policies the subject of greater attention and scrutiny.  

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Dee Spagnuolo, Corporate lawyer, Ballard Spahr
Partner

Dee Spagnuolo is the firm's Partner in Charge of Attorney Career Advancement and a member of the Executive Team of the Management Committee. Dee's practice focuses on the representation of companies and individuals in a wide range of internal investigations in educational and corporate settings, and compliance and regulatory matters. Dee has defended clients in civil litigation and criminal investigations involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), state and federal false claims acts (FCA), and regulatory compliance and ethics.

Dee's practice also includes...

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Brain Pedrow, Ballard Spahr law firm, employment, labor, and employee benefit dispute lawyer
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Brian D. Pedrow is the Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr's Labor and Employment Group. He represents employers and management in the full scope of matters related to employment, labor, and employee benefit disputes. Mr. Pedrow's practice includes all facets of employment-related litigation, such as discrimination, harassment, retaliation, breach of contract, and employment-based torts. He also has a significant practice representing benefit plans, fiduciaries, and plan sponsors in Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigation arising from benefits eligibility disputes, breach of fiduciary litigation, and interference with benefits claims. Mr. Pedrow's traditional labor practice includes both private and public sector labor negotiations, arbitrations, unfair labor practice charges, and related matters. He routinely represents clients in litigation, regulatory matters, and compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA).

Mr. Pedrow also represents employers in transactional and compliance matters encompassing such issues as employment and benefits aspects of corporate transactions, reductions in force, executive compensation, agreement drafting, policy and handbook reviews, and affirmative action planning. He provides management and workforce training on a wide array of labor and employment law issues and day-to-day counseling and advice to human resources professionals, managers, and in-house counsel. Mr. Pedrow serves as the Leader for related initiatives, including the firm's Accessibility Group involving ADA Title III and other public accommodation laws and the Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Group, which assists with the development and implementation of D&I programs.

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