A Houston Chronicle reporter who was fired from her job shortly after being outed as a part-time stripper filed a federal gender discrimination complaint this week.
Sarah Tressler, 30, alleges that the newspaper fired her in March for failing to disclose on her employment application that she had worked as an exotic dancer.
She was employed full-time by the newspaper between January 19 and March 27, mostly covering high society. Previously she freelanced for the newspaper, as well as for US Weekly. While she was at the Chronicle, she penned an anonymous blog titled "Diary of an Angry Stripper" and was outed by the weekly Houston Press in an article called "Society Writer by Day, Stripper by Night."
"I was very upset that I was fired because I had been told by many editors that I was doing a good job," Tressler said in a statement. "There was no question on the form that covered my dancing. I answered the questions on the form honestly."
She added: "The true reason for my termination was discrimination on account of my gender."
Tressler announced she had filed the one-page complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) during a Thursday news conference with her lawyer, Gloria Allred, known to be the go-to attorney for celebrity scandal.
"Most exotic dancers are female, and therefore to terminate an employee because they had previously been an exotic dancer would have an adverse impact on women, since it is a female dominated occupation," Allred said in a statement.
Allred said Tressler's stripping work was as an independent contractor, not an employee, so she would not have had to list it as "prior employment" on her job application.
"Sarah's work as a dancer is lawful and is not a crime," according to Allred's statement. "It does not, has not and will not affect her ability to perform her job as a journalist."
The Chronicle declined to comment on the complaint. The EEOC said it could not confirm or deny whether it had received a complaint. Tressler, who has a master's degree in journalism from New York University, has been stripping on and off since she was 22. She said she took up the gig to pay for college, then continued with it to help pay her bills.
"Some young women will use dancing as a way to make ends meet while they study to prepare for the career that they hope to be able to have for the rest of their lives," Tressler told CNN. "These women should not have to live in fear that once they acquire a position in the career that they have worked hard to achieve, that their past work experience as a dancer will jeopardize that position."
Would you fire someone for his or her part-time employment?
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