The Navy’s top enlisted leader is on leave amid allegations that he fostered a hostile work environment in his Pentagon office, Navy officials said Tuesday.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SG/IW) Steven Giordano is currently the subject of a Navy Inspector General investigation, Navy officials said.

“He remains on leave,” Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a Navy spokesman, said in response to a Navy Times query about Giordano’s current status.

“He is still the MCPON,” A Navy official said when asked if Giordano requested the leave or whether the Navy ordered him to take leave while the investigation is underway.

“I can say that he requested this leave, but I’m not going to comment on the mechanics of how that happened or the decision-making process that went into it,” The official said.

“MCPON’s job is an advisory one and he is not a CO, but of course we will take the necessary measures to ensure the investigation is conducted in a manner that ensures the integrity of the process.”

A spokesman for Giordano declined to comment on allegations.

Conducting an investigation of a sitting MCPON has created unusual challenges for the Navy as top officials seek to get to the bottom of the allegations.

Navy sources familiar with the situation described it as “uncharted waters,” and said that the investigation is ongoing and no deadline has been set, allowing the investigators all the leeway they need.

Giordano is expected to remain on leave until the investigation concludes.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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