Former N.H. State Trooper Settles Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

Oct 14, 2016

A retired New Hampshire state trooper and Army veteran who sued the Department of Safety for employment discrimination has reached a settlement with the state.

Carrie Nolet of Chocorua represented herself in federal court.  She says she was passed over for promotions because she is female, and faced harassment for her gender and orientation as a lesbian. She retired in 2013 after 20 years in the department.

The settlement includes $750 dollars for legal fees, and a part-time job as a policy-advisor to the State Police and Commissioner of Safety regarding gender and minority employment.

“I’m pretty optimistic,” Nolet says, “because I’ve had very positive conversations with the Assistant Commissioner several times since we’ve settled, and I believe personally that he’s committed to change.” Change, Nolet says, was her purpose all along.

Nolet’s lawsuit had sought damages and a retroactive promotion to captain, including back-pay. However, she says, proceeding to trial would have been too expensive.    

Nolet’s initial complaint included the following allegations, all denied by the Department of Safety:

  • "Vulgar conduct around the Troop Station was rampant concerning women, gays and minorities using the words "queers", "homos", etc. When speaking about women in leadership within NHSP and in women in high positions in politics, male Troopers used the terms "bitch" and "C"word."
  • "Several times over Plaintiffs career, she had tampons placed in her home mailbox. Maxi-pads have also been stuck to a horse warning sign on the road she lives on. The sign is in close proximity to her driveway in a rural area due to her having horses and riding on the road. She took these incidents to mean that someone wanted to keep reminding her that she was a woman in a man's world, but never had any idea who was actually responsible."
  • "In 2004, Plaintiff returned from wartime deployment and resumed as Troop E Detective Sergeant. She decided to have her eyesight corrected so that she would not need to wear glasses any longer. The year in the Middle East desert and dust made wearing glasses difficult. The procedure cost her several thousand dollars and she was on sick leave for a few days recuperating. Upon return to work. Plaintiffs Assistant Troop Commander, Sergeant Herbert West III, commented to her something to the effect of, "Why did you waste your money on that? You should have given me something better to look at." She understood the comment to refer to her breasts, as he was looking directly at them when he made this remark."
  • "Plaintiff was the first woman from NHSP to be nominated to attend the ten week, 246th session of the FBI National Academy from July through September of 2011. Only 2% of law enforcement officers ever have the opportunity to attend this upper level Executive Leadership training."
  • "It should be noted that every other male within NHSP who had attended the FBI National Academyin the past reached at least the rank of Captain, Major, Colonel, Commissioner, or Statewide Interoperability Coordinator within the Department of Safety"

Read the entire complaint:

Read the settlement document: