On the Uintah and Ouray Reservation, home to the Ute Tribe, in Utah. Photo: Ken Lund

Ute Tribe disputes harassment claims of women employees

The Ute Tribe is disputing claims made by two women employees who say they were sexually harassed by their supervisor.

A press release delivered to UB Media said the women, identified as Marlayna Myore and Marlaina Longhair, were suspended for violating tribal employment policies. It further states that an independent investigation was unable to substantiate their allegations against Keno Tapoof, the supervisor of UTERO, the tribe's employment rights office.

“The Tribe provides sexual harassment complaint forms to all employees and has a written policy strictly forbidding sexual harassment in any form, but neither Ms. Myore nor Ms. Longhair has ever submitted such a complaint,” the press release to UB Media read.

Myore and Longhair were placed on leave without pay from their current positions in July, UB Media reported. Myore worked at UTERO for eight years prior and Longhair worked there for five years but it wasn't until they came forward that they were suspended, the outlet points out.

The press release delivered to UB Media further claims the tribe offered the women jobs in other departments -- a curious development considering the women were accused of repeatedly violating tribal employment policies. Tapoof, meanwhile, remains on the job, the outlet reported.

Longhair is a plaintiff in a lawsuit in tribal court that names Tapoof as a defendant, UB Media reports. A filing obtained by the publication identifies Tapoof's attorney as J. Preston Stieff -- the same person who disseminated the press release. Yet Stieff told UB Media that he represents the tribe, not Tapoof.

The tribe is based on the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah.

Read More on the Story
Tribe responds to sexual harassment claims (UB Media December 3, 2019)

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