Former assistant fire marshal files suit claiming he was fired in retaliation for reporting harassment

(Graphic courtesy of IDHS)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Hoosier State’s former assistant fire marshal has filed a lawsuit against the State of Indiana and its department of homeland security, claiming he was fired in retaliation for reporting sexual discrimination and harassment last year.

In January 2017, Robert Johnson claims he was approached by several female employees who informed him that they were being sexually harassed by their supervisor, but the women didn’t want to report it to Fire Marshal Jim Greeson, because he was friends with the employee in question.

Johnson says he took the claim to Greeson and the fire marshal told him he would take care of it. But, according to Johnson, Greeson didn’t do anything with the information, so he brought it to human resources himself. An investigation was conducted and the supervisor accused of harassment was terminated, according to the lawsuit.

After making the report, Johnson says Greeson and the acting director began treating him differently and in March, he was told he was being terminated and he was asked to sign a letter of resignation.

When Johnson asked why he was being terminated, he says he was originally told that the funds for his position were being “repurposed throughout the agency.” Then he was allegedly told he wasn’t a good fit and did not process the necessary skills. Johnson claims his performance and skills were only deemed insufficient after he reported the harassment.

Now, Johnson is asking to be reinstated to the assistant fire marshal position, according to the lawsuit. He’s also asking to be paid his lost wages, unpaid bonuses and other economic losses.

When CBS4 reached out to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, officials said they didn’t comment on pending litigation.

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