Lawsuit: Man "unfairly fired" over use of "N-word" on Facebook

Abel Gonzalez said he was fired after using the "n-word" on a caption contest involving a photo of President Barack Obama

A former elementary school employees claims he was "unfairly fired" after using the "n-word" through his personal Facebook page.

Abel Gonzalez sued the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District in a federal free speech lawsuit filed in Brownsville on Monday.

The former secretary with Rodriguez Elementary School claims the school district violated his free speech rights.

According to his lawsuit, Gonzalez participated in a caption contest involving President Barack Obama on the Huffington Post Facebook page back in August 2012.

Under a caption contest, Facebook fans post humorous responses to the photo posted.

While using his personal Facebook profile on his personal time at home, Gonzalez said he replied with, "Run ______ Run."

But an African-American man in Pennsylvania saw the post, clicked on Gonzalez's profile and learned where Gonzalez worked.

The Pennsylvania man and another African-American man started a campaign to get Gonzalez fired claiming that Gonzalez was racist.

The two called the school while one of them left angry messages on the elementary's Facebook page.

Gonzalez reported that he changed his Facebook profile descriptions and privacy settings but it was too late.

Harlingen CISD fired him and although Gonzalez filed a series of grievances, all of them ended unsuccessfully.

Gonzalez, who worked at the school district for 12 years without any other incident, claims he has applied for 150 school district jobs but has been "blackballed."

Action 4 News reached out to Harlingen CISD for comment.

Court records show that the school district has not been served with the lawsuit but spokes Shane Strubhart issued a statement.

Mr. Gonzalez is no longer an employee at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District and the allegations raised in the filed lawsuit are unfounded, Strubhart said in the statement. As this matter involves litigation and personnel matters, our school district cannot and will not comment further.