Shelley says that Zoll presented a six-month time frame in which company officials promised to investigate Haun.

"That didn't happen," he says. "I started to become more active in what, fundamentally, was going on, which is that people were being discriminated against. The more people that I told my story to, the more people believed it was wrong and that there were already protections in place. Unfortunately, that's not the case."

Shelley eventually learned that Haun was moved to another division within Zoll Medical, the parent company of Zoll Lifecor, and he is reportedly no longer in a managerial role. Still, the whole situation did not settle well with Shelley. Since Zoll Medical is based in Massachusetts, Shelley filed a complaint with the state's Commission Against Discrimination, as company policy advises employees to do (Pennsylvania, where Zoll Lifecor is based, and Georgia, where he worked for Zoll, do not have gay-inclusive antidiscrimination laws like Massachusetts).

Last week, however, his filing was rejected due to jurisdiction. Now, he says, he has no recourse.

"I live in a very small town, and I even live in the rural part of that," he says. "I knew that to try to increase awareness of this wasn't going to happen on the Clayton Highway."

So Shelley has recruited a group of friends to drive to Philadelphia, where Zoll Lifecor is headquartered, 2,000 miles from his home in rural Alabama. They set out over the weekend. From there, he hopes to lead a protest, raising awareness of the fact that so few states — 21 and the District of Columbia — have outlawed workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Even fewer states — 12, plus D.C. — prohibit gender identity discrimination. So he hopes to make a point about the need for a national law, such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Legally, this is the end for Shelley, since he feels he has no remaining legal recourse. But this will not stop him from bringing attention to his complaint. After he storms Philadelphia, he has plans for the American College of Cardiology Conference in Atlanta March 14-16.

"Zoll Medical is one of the largest exhibitors at this conference," he said. "After living in Atlanta over 12 years, I expect to gather support to have a significant presence at this conference."

Tags: World