Chief Googoo denies independent report alleging he bullied women in the workplace
The former president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association (NSNWA) alleges she was bullied in the workplace and harassed by a regional chief who is denying the claim.
Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Morley Googoo denies he ever bullied or tried to intimidate members of the NSNWA, despite the findings of an internal report that says he was aggressive towards some women and made some fearful of their jobs.
Former NSNWA president Cheryl Maloney filed the complaint to the federal government against Googoo in 2017 and said after years of advocating for the rights of Indigenous women, like testifying before the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Women and Girls, she has lost all faith in the government’s support system after alleging that she herself became a victim of gender-based bullying.
“This is a huge eye-opening experience for me,” said Maloney. “Where federal, provincial and Indigenous governments, and the assembly of First Nations, [have] turned a blind eye.”
Former NSNWA president Cheryl Maloney filed a complaint against Chief Morley Googoo saying he allegedly bullied and harassed her.Jesse Thomas / Global News
Maloney says while president of the NSNWA, she was bullied in the workplace by Googoo, and said he tried to remove her from her position as president and had allegedly harassed her over the phone in a 20 minuted conversation in 2017.
Following her formal complaints, Maloney said the federal, provincial, and Indigenous governments under the Tripartite Forum called for an internal investigation by an independent lawyer.
According to the report, filed in September 2018, the lawyer had conducted interviews, reviewed emails, texts and personal and organization notes and social media before concluding that Chief Googoo had acted “aggressive” towards some of the women and the bahaviour constituted “bullying” which Googoo still denies.
“I have to deny any gender bias,” said Googoo. “I have women all working for me, and they all can tell you that I allow empowerment and I allow them to lead. The same with my community when I was chief for 19 years — I had over 70 percent of my staff being women.”
Googoo said he fully participated in the internal investigation and would continue to participate if needed and said he reached out to Maloney to try and repair the damages but Maloney says it’s up to the government now to respond.
“An apology to me personally isn’t going to address the issue of systemic on-going gender-based discrimination, workplace harassment, and bullying,” said Maloney.
“I think it’s up to the federal and provincial governments to reach out to me, not him. I think they were the ones that were supposed to protect us.”
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