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Mississippi Gay Officer Reinstated

Mississippi Gay Officer Reinstated


A former sheriff's deputy in Mississippi will be reinstated following settlement of an antigay discrimination lawsuit out of court.

The Hattiesurg American reports that Andre Cooley, who filed suit against the Forrest County Sheriff's Department with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, will be reinstated as a deputy corrections officer. The department also will change its nondiscrimination policy to explicitly forbid antigay discrimination.

"Bear Atwood, legal director at the ACLU of Mississippi, said Cooley's was the first case of its kind in the state -- wherein an employee sued a public body for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation," reports the American.

"She also said that Forrest County will have the first sheriff's office in the state to include a sexual orientation clause in its nondiscrimination policy."

The settlement also included back pay from the time Cooley was fired in June 2010 to the present.

In his lawsuit Cooley said that he was listed as the victim when he called 911 from home last year in response to violence by his boyfriend. He alleged that after his chief officer learned he was gay, he told him not to report to work before speaking with his direct supervisor, and that he was fired the next day.

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