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Fired for stripping, Houston reporter files discrimination complaint


Sarah Tressler appears at a news conference in Los Angeles May 10, 2012. Sarah Tressler is suing her former employer, the Houston Chronicle, after she was fired. Tressler's lawyer, Gloria Allred, says her client's firing was sexually discriminatory.

The former Houston Chronicle reporter who was fired after another publication exposed her second job as a night club stripper announced Thursday she had filed a federal gender discrimination complaint against the paper that let her go.

In her complaint, Sarah Tressler, 30, is asking the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to look into the Chronicle's decision to fire her. Tressler says an editor told her she was let go because she hadn't disclosed her side gig in her job application.

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

Tressler announced she filed the complaint at a news conference with her lawyer, Beverly Hills celebrity attorney Gloria Allred. Later, Tressler tweeted: "Couldn't ask for anyone better by my side ... So grateful."

The Houston Press, an alternative weekly, first exposed the "double life" of Tressler in a feature story with the headline "Writer by day, stripper by night." It also drew attention to Tressler’s blog — Diary of an Angry Stripper — which included pictures of her scantily-clad self, as well as rich detail from the inside of the gentlemen's club.

Society reporter moonlighting as stripper fired by Chronicle

During her two-month reporting gig, Tressler covered high society, human interest stories, and fashion. She had previously worked as a freelancer for the Chronicle. Tressler "very rarely" worked as an exotic dancer, a skill that helped her pay for college, she said at the news conference, according to local TV station KPRC. 

Tressler said she occasionally went to the club for exercise.

"And I didn't have a gym membership. So, on days off I might just go in there in the afternoon and do a couple stage rotations and knock it out," she said.

KPRC reports that Tressler, who has a master's degree in journalism from New York University, also teaches part time at the University of Houston. 

"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, who is a self-described feminist lawyer, said in a statement.

"Sarah’s work as a dancer is lawful and is not a crime. It does not, has not and will not affect her ability to perform her job as a journalist," the statement read.

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