Leader of largest Native American organization ousted for how he handled sexual harassment investigation


The general manager of the National Congress of American Indians lost his job for his handling of a sexual harassment investigation, according to documents filed in court.

Dante Desiderio, who had only been in office for a year, was not the target of an investigation, according to a complaint he filed in Washington, DC. Instead, it was the non-Indian attorney he hired as NCAI general counsel who was charged. to make a comment of a sexual nature to a younger employee.

Then-General Counsel Max Muller suggested becoming ‘friends with benefits’ for an employee during his first visit to NCAI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.., according to Desiderio.

Muller is an experienced lawyer who, on the speaking circuit, has a speech titled “Office Romance – The Road From Attraction to Litigation.” He says his experience includes discrimination law, harassment (including sexual harassment), FMLA, ADA, FLSA, COBRA, recruitment and onboarding, discipline and termination, unemployment, compensation workers’ compensation, behavior-based interviewing, and other workplace specialties.

The incident marks the second time in four years that the NCAI’s top legal chief has been investigated for complaints related to sexual harassment.

In 2018, non-Indian lawyer John Dossett was ousted after Indianz.Com reported allegations that ultimately cost him a role he held with the organization for two decades. This is the second time in three years that the top leader of the largest inter-tribal organization in the United States has been involved in a sexual harassment scandal.

In 2019, Jackie Pata, a citizen of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes based in Southeast Alaska, left the NCAI after a four-month suspension connected to her management of the Dossett investigation.

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Aubrey L. Morgan