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A Buchanan County man is suing the Missouri-American Water Co. for what he alleges was reverse racism.

Robert Hamm, an independent janitor who worked with Missouri-American Water Co. since 2000, contends in his suit that in 2016 he was told he would have to bid against other “minority-owned” janitorial companies to continue working for the company.

Hamm alleges he was told the company was trying to diversify, leading the man to believe that he was at risk of losing his contract with the water company because he was a white male.

The petition states Hamm was able to keep his position and sign a contract set to expire in October of 2019 after a supervisor said he was concerned with the security risk of hiring another janitor.

A few years following the installment of this new contract, Hamm heard that at least six Missouri-American Water Co. employees had been told he was being terminated, and at a retirement party in June of 2018, several employees told him they were sorry to hear he was being fired, according to the suit. Hamm did not receive official word of his termination until nearly a week after the party.

The petition alleges that an official cause was never given for the termination of the contract, and that the man was not given the opportunity to bid for another contract, with the job being given to a “minority-owned” janitorial company.

Hamm has filed a lawsuit against Missouri-American Water Co. on the basis of race and gender discrimination.

Jessika Eidson can be reached at jessika.eidson@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter at @NPNowEidson.