He said I could sit there and cry or stand up and fight

It was the summer of 1986 and I was a 21 year-old vegetarian college kid living in Burlington, Vermont when I got fired for asserting my right to work as a woman bartender by the owner of a place called What's Your Beef.

Screamed at and thrown out on to the street for uttering the word "discrimination," I sat on the curb and sobbed because I needed the job and felt distraught and violated. 

My business law professor -- a Harvard guy -- happened to walk by and after hearing my story said matter-of-factly I could sit there and cry or file a claim with the Vermont Attorney General's Office for unlawful discrimination and retaliation.