A former personnel chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency is being investigated for sexual misconduct, including allegations that he hired women he met at bars and on dating websites in the hopes that they would become sexual partners for male employees.
Corey Coleman, who joined FEMA in 2011, resigned in June amid an investigation into claims that he sexually harassed female employees and created a “toxic” work environment, FEMA Administrator William “Brock” Long told The Washington Post.
“What we uncovered was a systemic problem going back years,” Long said of the seven-month preliminary investigation into allegations against Coleman.
Long said Coleman was found to have hired dozens of male friends and fraternity brothers, as well as women he met at bars and on dating websites, and then bypassed federal hiring channels to promote them to various roles within the agency.
One FEMA official, who spoke with the Post on the condition of anonymity, said Coleman would transfer certain women to different departments and regional offices in the hopes of positioning them as potential sexual partners for his male friends.
A recent anonymous reviewer on Glassdoor.com, who claimed to be a former employee at FEMA’s Human Capital Office in Washington, D.C., called Coleman out by name and described the office as “extremely chaotic.”
“[Coleman] knows exactly what he can get away with and pushes the limits as far as he can, while ‘leadership’ above him is standing by and doing nothing to stop him,” the person wrote in the April review.
In a statement published on FEMA’s website, Long said he was requesting that the inspector general’s office at the Department of Homeland Security, under which FEMA falls, initiate a further investigation “to address lapses in professional responsibility” at the agency over sexual harassment complaints.
These allegations are deeply disturbing, and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated at FEMA,” Long said.
He added that additional steps would involve establishing an Office of Professional Responsibility to resolve misconduct allegations, as well as instituting “a mandatory, third party, in-person training to recognize, report and prevent sexual harassment.”
“Anyone who disagrees with this zero tolerance approach will not be welcome at FEMA,” Long said.