Former FEMA HR Chief Joins Government Workers Around the Globe Facing Sexual Harassment Allegations


Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek August 2, 2018

​The former head of HR at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been accused of trading sexual favors for jobs at the agency. A source with knowledge of FEMA's internal investigation of the accusations has come forward and an executive summary of the preliminary findings of the investigation has been revealed.

Corey Coleman resigned in June and is under investigation for allegedly engaging in sexual relationships with female subordinates. The news reports of Coleman's wrongdoing follow a string of sexual harassment accusations against members of Congress. In February, Congress passed a bill that would reform how lawmakers' offices handle sexual harassment cases.

SHRM Online has collected the following articles from its archives and respected news sources on the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in government here and abroad. 

FEMA Administrator: Sexual Misconduct Investigation Reveals 'Lapses in Professional Responsibility'

An executive summary of the preliminary investigation found that Coleman engaged in sexual relationships with female subordinates. In the report, witnesses accuse him of pressuring the women and demoting them when they tried to deny his advances, intimidating staff, and creating a toxic work environment.

Among actions FEMA Administrator William "Brock" Long is calling for is a requirement for employees to "complete a mandatory, third-party, in-person training to recognize, report and prevent sexual harassment," as well as more counseling, training and a review of open complaints.

How the Federal Government Hides Sexual Harassment Payouts

Despite a 2002 law aimed at improving federal accountability in discrimination cases, the system for tracking sexual harassment payments in the executive branch is almost as opaque and bureaucratic as the one governing Congress, where payouts similarly lack transparency—a setup that obscures the extent of workplace problems and allows for little oversight of how taxpayer money is spent, according to a POLITICO analysis.(Politico)  

Sexual Harassment in the Federal Government: #MeToo Hits Congress

The #MeToo movement has affected big names from Hollywood to Washington. A string of allegations against Congressmen (and women) are raising questions about how sexual harassment in the federal government is handled, and who gets to know about it.(Eisenberg & Baum LLP blog)   

Sexual Harassment Is Rampant in Congress. 1,308 Former Staff Members Are Demanding Change.

For decades, women who worked on Capitol Hill—from interns to staff members—have described inappropriate behavior by elected officials who faced few consequences for their actions. But the momentum of the #MeToo movement pushed the issue into the public eye last year. 
(Mother Jones)  

Justice in the #MeToo Era Not Nearly as Swift for Federal Employees

new study shows that sexual harassment is commonplace in federal offices. One in 5 women at large agencies said they have experienced some form of inappropriate behavior from a co-worker or supervisor. Nearly 9 percent of male employees report similar problems.
(Washington Post)  

DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Assault in Military

The Defense Department has released its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, which shows that service member reporting of sexual assault increased by about 10 percent in fiscal year 2017.

The increase in reporting occurred across all four military services.
(U.S. Department of Defense)  

U.K. Parliament Report: 1 in 5 Experience Sexual Harassment

Nearly one in five people working in Britain's parliament were sexually harassed or witnessed inappropriate behavior in the past year, said a report commissioned after a series of sex scandals at Westminster.

The report called for a new complaints procedure along with radical change of a culture that can deter some from challenging bosses and suggested forms of punishment for those found guilty of harassing their staff.

Japanese Gov't to Make Senior Officials Take Courses on Sexual Harassment

The government will ask senior officials to take courses aimed at preventing sexual harassment following a series of scandals involving alleged improper behavior by high-ranking bureaucrats, a government source said June 6.

The Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, which oversees personnel matters concerning high-ranking officials, will check whether the courses have been attended, effectively making participation a precondition for promotion.
(Japan Times)  

South Korea: Efforts to Eradicate Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence in Government Agencies

The #MeToo movement has spread to South Korea, and victims of sexual harassment and sexual violation in the areas of public services, academia, and culture and the arts have gone public with their claims.

In March, the South Korean Prime Minister issued the Rules for Establishment and Operation of the Comprehensive Government Inspection Team for Promoting Eradication of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence. The Ordinance came into effect on March 30 and will be in force until March 31, 2019.
(Library of Congress)   

Workplace Harassment Resources  

Allegations of workplace harassment have swept the working world. To help HR with training, policies and many other aspects of responding to inappropriate behaviors in the workplace, the SHRM created this resource center.
(SHRM Online)


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