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Texas reporter alleges firing over stripper work

Associated Press

HOUSTON (AP) – A former Houston Chronicle reporter announced Thursday she has filed a federal gender discrimination complaint alleging she was fired because she failed to disclose she also had worked as an exotic dancer.

Sarah Tressler, 30, alleges she was fired by the newspaper in March for not indicating on her employment application that she had worked as a stripper.

“I was very upset that I was fired because I had been told by many editors that I was doing a good job … There was no question on the form that covered my dancing. I answered the questions on the form honestly,” Tressler said in a statement.

Tressler announced she had filed the complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during a Los Angeles news conference with her lawyer, celebrity attorney Gloria Allred.

The Houston Chronicle declined to comment on the complaint. The EEOC said it could not confirm or deny whether it had received a complaint.

Tressler worked as a society reporter for the newspaper from Jan. 19 through March 27. She previously worked as a freelance reporter for the newspaper.

She also wrote a personal blog called “Diary of an Angry Stripper,” in which she described her life dancing at local men’s clubs. Her job as an exotic dancer was first made public by a local alternative weekly newspaper.

Tressler alleges in her one-page EEOC complaint that she was terminated “because my prior activity as an adult dancer was not disclosed when I applied for the job. I believe that the stated reason for my termination was pretextual in that I answered the questions that were put to me truthfully in connection with my application for employment. The true reason for my termination was discrimination on account of my gender.”

Allred said after Tressler was hired by the newspaper, she only rarely worked as an exotic dancer.

Tressler’s attorney said the ex-reporter danced as an independent contractor and was not an employee of any club and therefore did not need to list her dancing when she applied for her full time position with the newspaper.

“Sarah’s work as a dancer is lawful and is not a crime,” Allred said in a statement. “It does not, has not and will not affect her ability to perform her job as a journalist.”

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