2 Women Claim They Were Fired For Reporting Sexual Harassment Against Canadian Co. Juvenile Center Director
CANADIAN COUNTY, Oklahoma - A former employee of the Canadian County Children's Justice Center said not only was she sexually harassed, but she was fired when she reported it. The retaliation is the latest in a list of disturbing allegations at the center.
That former employee and another woman, both who worked in human resources for the center, have notified Canadian County that they have retained an attorney and plan to eventually file a lawsuit claiming retaliation for making reports about the center's director.
Dan Kern is the Canadian County Children's Justice Center's current director despite, according to the women’s attorney, between five and eight employees, both men and women, making serious claims about him.
“There were a lot of inappropriate and sexualized statements that were made by Mr. Kern, the use of derogatory, vulgar, pejorative terms about women in general,” said Rachel Bussett the attorney representing both of the women.
Ronda Moss, the former facilities director, said she made complaints of harassment, age discrimination and retaliation four different times between September 24 and October 7 on behalf of herself and others. Shortly after that on October 17, she was fired.
“I was not given a reason why still to this day I don’t know why,” said Moss.
In a letter to Canadian County commissioners Moss's attorney Bussett said another employee Melissa McClain made similar claims and was demoted also on October 17.
Both women said they notified Judge Bob Hughey, who oversees the center and makes all the hiring and firing decisions.
Moss said no action was taken against Kern and when she was fired, the county's HR director was not aware of the complaints.
“She said that she’s just the messenger, and I went on to ask her about the status of the complaints against the center that should have gone to her, and she said she didn’t know anything about that,” said Moss.
News 9 spoke on the phone with County Commissioner David Anderson, who said they are taking these allegations seriously and are in the process of conducting an internal investigation into misconduct of the facilities director.
Anderson said he has reviewed the letter from Bussett, and these latest claims will be a part of that investigation.