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‘Ebony’ Isn’t Obscene,|Fired Worker Says

MIDLAND, Texas (CN) - A longtime worker says a senior center fired him because a woman found a copy of Ebony magazine in a company bathroom, which his bosses claim to be obscene. Robert Hanson says he never possessed any obscene material, but was fired "based on the employer equating the Ebony magazine to Mr. Hanson, an African American."

Robert Hanson claims he was fired on a pretext, and that he was really fired because of his race, gender and age. Hanson had worked for the Community & Senior Services of Midland for more than 17 years and is older than 40.

In his complaint in Midland County Court, Hanson claims the senior center fired him "on the grounds of finding obscene material in the Men's public restroom. Mr. Hanson was not in possession, either actively or constructively, of obscene material. Found in the Men's restroom was an Ebony magazine, which is a well-known and respected magazine that primarily features African American events and issues."

Hanson says he was fired because a woman "indicated that an Ebony magazine was located under a sink where rolls of toilet tissue were stored. [The woman] indicated that there was not inappropriate material in the sink area. [Sic.] The discrimination is operational based on the employer equating the Ebony magazine to Mr. Hanson, an African American. The employer used his age and gender to equate possession of pornographic material, when in fact he had not possessed the material."

Hanson seeks $1.5 million in damages and reinstatement. He is represented by Steve Hershberger.


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