Worn Bindings

On April 30, former Statesman Books Editor Anne Morris filed suit against the paper (technically, against Cox Texas Newspapers, L.P. doing business as the Statesman) for age discrimination under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act of the Texas Labor Code. According to her court filing, Morris, 58, has written for the paper since 1983, initially as a freelancer. She became a part-time book review editor in 1993 and then the full-time book editor in 1996.

Morris' lawsuit claims that coinciding with the October 1999 appointment of Jeff Salamon as deputy features editor, her job conditions deteriorated and that Salamon and other editors made critical evaluations of her work which "demonstrated bias" against her age. "During the period from 1999 to 2001," says her petition to the court, "several older employees were forced into retirement or otherwise driven off." Morris received what she says were contradictory evaluations of her work from various supervisors, including Statesman Editor Rich Oppel, until June 2001. At that time, Morris declined what her supervisors called a "lateral transfer" to a job as a copy editor, and she was fired. The lawsuit requests actual and punitive damages of $950,000 and additional related costs.

The newspaper, whose attorney did not respond to requests for comment, has until May 19 to answer to the lawsuit.

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