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Former N.H. firefighter files lawsuit claiming years of sexual harassment

The former Concord firefighter claims he was sexually harassed for years by coworkers, superiors on his perceived sexual orientation


A Concord Fire Department fire engine.

Concord Fire Department/Facebook

By Paul Feely
The New Hampshire Union Leader

CONCORD, N.H. — A former Concord firefighter alleges he was sexually harassed for years by coworkers and superiors and subjected to remarks on his perceived sexual orientation, according to a lawsuit filed against the city.

Christopher Golomb filed complaints at both the local and state level about being the subject of “gay” jokes “despite the fact that Mr. Golomb is not gay,” according to the filing.

He took his case to the city’s human resources department and the state Human Rights Commission before becoming so uncomfortable with his work environment that he resigned in 2023 after 15 years on the job, according to the suit.

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Golomb filed a charge of discrimination and retaliation with the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission on July 20, 2022, before ultimately resigning from the Concord Fire Department effective Dec. 22, 2023.

” Concord’s complete failure to remedy the discrimination and retaliation to which Mr. Golomb was repeatedly subjected, makes clear that Concord accepted and tolerated discrimination toward Mr. Golomb,” the lawsuit contends.

Golomb sent a statement to the Union Leader Monday through his attorney, Heather Burns of Upton and Hatfield, LLP, saying he is “disappointed that it has come to this point.”

“I had hoped that this matter would have been resolved after my multiple internal complaints to the city,” the statement said.

Asked for comment on the suit, Concord City Solicitor Danielle Pacik said in an email that “the city does not comment on pending litigation, but it will be defending against the claims brought in the lawsuit.”

Golomb’s lawsuit claims discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation on the basis of sex under state and federal law.

According to the lawsuit, Golomb was moved from Battalion 1 to Battalion 3 in the summer of 2011 and shortly afterward was subjected to “gay” jokes and comments from fellow firefighters.

Comments referencing Golomb’s clothing included “that’s gay” and “those are gay jeans,” according to the suit.

In July 2012, Golomb was transferred to Station 5, where the harassment not only continued but worsened to the point that he told fellow firefighters he would begin “writing down the times that these offensive comments about his presumed sexuality were being made,” the filing states.

On Oct. 22, 2013, the lawsuit alleges, the comments became “particularly harsh,” with one superior allegedly referring to Golomb as a “fag” and “f---ing homo.”

On one occasion, the lawsuit alleges, a firefighter said to a visitor in front of Golomb, “He likes men,” allegedly referring to Golomb.

After Concord fire crews — including Golomb — responded to a generator fire on Jan. 30, 2020, the lawsuit claims one firefighter said to other firefighters at the scene, “Did you see Chris all fired up? He’s in a good mood,” and went on to make a crude reference to sex.

According to court documents, on March 17, 2020, Jennifer Johnston, director of Human Resources and Labor Relations for the city of Concord told Golomb their investigation was complete, saying there was no finding of retaliation or a hostile work environment or any other unlawful actions.

” Concord found that inappropriate behavior which runs counter to its Policy on Non-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment occurred,” the lawsuit alleges. “After the investigation concluded, the sexually harassing, discriminatory and retaliatory conduct toward Mr. Golomb continued.”

Golomb is seeking “lost wages and benefits, future lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and attorneys’ fees and costs.”

Asked for comment on the lawsuit, Justin Kantar, president of International Association of Firefighters Local 1045 in Concord said in an email Golomb “left our union as a member in good standing and always had union representation when he requested it or needed it.”

“Unfortunately we have no comment on his lawsuit against the city of Concord,” Kantar said.

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