Ex-Forrest Co. sheriff’s employee sues over firing

Published 2:47 pm Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A former employee of the Forrest County Sheriff’s Department has filed a lawsuit claiming he was fired from his job because he’s gay.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit Monday in federal court in Hattiesburg on behalf of Andre D. Cooley, a former corrections officer for juvenile detainees.

The suit claims Cooley’s civil rights were violated. It says Cooley was fired in June after his supervisors found out he was in a relationship with a man.

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The suit names Sheriff Billy McGee and other department officials. McGee couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

ACLU Mississippi attorney Bear Atwood says the suit is important because there’s no federal or state law to protect people from being fired because of their sexual orientation.