A former head of human resources for the Federal Emergency Management Agency is under investigation after being accused of hiring women as possible sexual partners for male employees, the Washington Post reported Monday.
That accusation was one of many leveled against Corey Coleman, who led the HR department from 2011 until June, that depicted him as creating a toxic workplace for the 20,000-person agency, pushing out qualified employees, allowing sexual harassment to occur unchecked, and filling the agency with unqualified employees, many of whom are still there.
Coleman himself has been accused of sexually harassing female employees, and two employees have said they had inappropriate sexual relationships with him. One said Coleman denied her a promotion and tried to fire her after she ended the relationship; the second said Coleman created a new job for her that she was unqualified for and paid for it with disaster funding, according to the New York Times.
These findings came from a seven-month internal investigation that wrapped up Friday, according to the Post. In a statement Monday, FEMA Administrator Brock Long called the allegations “deeply disturbing” and announced measures the agency would take in response, including the creation of an office within FEMA to investigate allegations of misconduct and harassment, an external review of FEMA’s handling of the allegations, and mandatory sexual harassment training for employees.
Coleman, who resigned in June before being interviewed by investigators, has also been accused of hiring friends, college fraternity brothers, and women he met on dating sites and at bars, starting in 2015, according to the Post. He also allegedly promoted them within the agency without going through the formal hiring and review processes, and, most shockingly, transferred some women to offices and departments to be closer to friends who wanted sexual relationships with them.
Long said he referred several cases reported in the investigation to the Department of Homeland Security to investigate criminal sexual assault. The FEMA investigation will also look into others in the agency who allegedly enabled Coleman.
Before working at FEMA, Coleman had been the deputy personnel chief for the U.S. Secret Service. FEMA officials told the Post that the DHS had received complaints about Coleman in 2015 but that it was unclear what happened with the complaints.