DES MOINES, Iowa — A former state worker who sued former Governor Terry Branstad has won his discrimination lawsuit and was awarded $1.5 million.
Chris Godfrey, the state’s former Workers Compensation Commissioner sued Branstad, arguing Branstad asked him to resign and then cut his salary by $40,000 because Godfrey is openly gay.
One of the people called to testify was former State Senator and current Polk County Supervisor Matt McCoy, who is also openly gay.
“Help the jury understand that being gay in 2011 through 2015 was not an easy thing and Chris was definitely experiencing discrimination,” McCoy said.
McCoy says he experienced similar discrimination from the Branstad administration and calls the culture a “men’s club.”
Originally, McCoy says his testimony was rejected.
“I felt like what I was experiencing as a gay legislator by trying to keep me off the stand was once again their effort to control the narrative and pretend that we didn’t exist,” McCoy said.
McCoy is glad he was able to stand up against the former governor and hopes this lawsuit sparks change.
“I hope that it will cause people to act judiciously and to treat people in the workplace,” McCoy said.
Private attorneys have been paid more than a million dollars to defend the state, Branstad, his former chief of staff and his former legal counsel.
Channel 13 reached out to that attorney and have not heard back.
Governor Kim Reynolds released a statement saying:
“We are disappointed in the verdict and are consulting with our attorneys.”