What would you do if you were fired from your job right before you were eligible for retirement, simply because of who you are? Connie experienced this firsthand.
Connie and Dixie have lived and worked in Georgia for most of their lives. Connie worked at a company in Georgia for 31 years. Her dedicated work ethic was recognized by the board of directors and the CEO, which led to a promotion at her company.
Given her strong performance and resulting promotion, the couple was devastated when Connie was abruptly fired from her job, only a year away from collecting her retirement benefits.
We don’t need that type of individual on our staff.
Before she was fired, the CEO decided to leave the company. On his last day, he asked Connie to get rid of some of his old documents. This was normal protocol, so she did as she was asked. The interim CEO that took his place was openly hostile and biased against Connie for being a lesbian1. She demoted her and spoke negatively about her to other employees, saying, “We don’t need that type of individual on our staff.”
Right before Christmas, she was called into the office and fired on the spot. The interim CEO told her she was being fired for disposing of the previous CEO’s documents, even though she’d been asked to. Connie, her fellow employees, and her partner, Dixie, were shocked. She was only a year away from collecting retirement benefits. “This is who I am. I shouldn’t be [fired] for being a lesbian. I’m just a hardworking individual,” Connie said.
We shouldn’t have to live in an environment of fear at work. It’s beyond devastating.
She was blindsided. Dixie was continuing her education, so Connie was the sole breadwinner and had lost her means to support her family. In that one moment, she lost $25,000 a year for retirement. It was something she had earned through 31 years of dedicated, excellent service to her community and her company. Her family was suddenly at risk. Their safety net had vanished in an instant. “We shouldn’t have to live in an environment of fear at work. It’s beyond devastating,” Connie said.
Connie sought legal recourse, but six lawyers told her there’s nothing she can do, because Georgia is one of 31 states that doesn’t protect LGBT2 Americans from discrimination. Everyone has the right to marry. Not everyone has basic rights.
Georgia has passed 5 laws that actively harm LGBT people.Learn more
Can be fired or denied a promotion
Can be evicted from their homes or denied housing
Can be denied service at public establishments, denied medical treatment, or even kicked out of restaurants or businesses
Georgia’s total population
Total LGBT population
Of LGBT population raising children