Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Southern Legal Resource Center, the nation’s only organization devoted exclusively to advocating in Southern cultural and heritage cases, will file suit in Shelby County Superior Court Tuesday on behalf of a psychologist who was fired from his job at a Memphis counseling center because his vehicle displayed Confederate flag license tags.

Paul McClaren, who resides in Olive Branch, MS, but who worked as a counselor for Compass Intervention Center in Memphis for a total of 10 years, was terminated last October after a running dialogue with Center officials over a decorative Confederate battle flag he displayed on the front of his vehicle and a state-issued Sons of Confederate Veterans Mississippi license tag on its rear.

McClaren says he had the tags on his vehicle for years without incident, but claims that in October of 2007, the clinic’s recently-hired CEO demanded that McClaren either stop using the company lot as long as the tags were in place or park far enough away and in such a manner as to conceal them. McClaren contends that he made every reasonable effort to comply with the clinic’s request, but that he was discharged anyway, without notice and without severance benefits.

SLRC officials say the case will essentially be a retaliatory discharge action with a reverse discrimination element. SLRC Chief Trial Counsel Kirk D. Lyons will represent the defendant along with Memphis attorney Tarry Beasley, who is acting as local co-counsel.

The suit will be filed at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Shelby County Courthouse, with a media conference to follow.

The SLRC has gained international notoriety for brining actions in Confederate symbols-related cases and presently is prosecuting similar cases in South Carolina, Texas and Georgia, as well as Anderson County, Tennessee.

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