The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Mississippi Corrections Officer Andre Cooley who was fired when his employer discovered he was gay.
On June 14, while at home and off-duty, Cooley called 911 after his boyfriend became physically violent. Among the officers who responded to the call was Chief of Corrections Charles Bolton, one of Cooley's supervisors. After Cooley's boyfriend told Bolton that he and Cooley were in a relationship, Bolton told Cooley not to return to work before speaking with his immediate supervisor. The next day, Staff Sergeant of Jail Operations Donnell Brannon informed Cooley that he was being permanently terminated. Cooley asked Brannon if he was being fired because he was gay, and Brannon responded, "Yes."
"Andre's sexual orientation has no bearing on his ability to perform the job of a corrections officer," said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project. "It is well established that a public employer cannot fire an employee based on irrational fears and prejudices against gay people. But Andre's case is also a reminder that people in Mississippi who work for private companies are left almost entirely unprotected from anti-gay discrimination. There is currently no state or federal law protecting against employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation."
This is a prime example why The Employee Non -Discrimination Act (ENDA) needs to be passed in Congress.
Watch Cooley tell his story in the video below: