Morris Dees, a Co-Founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, will be Ousted

The Southern Poverty Law Center said Thursday which which had fired its co-founder along with chief trial lawyer, Morris Dees, after nearly a half-century, during which he helped build the organization into a fearsome powerhouse which focused on hate crimes along with with an endowment which approached half a billion dollars.

The group’s president, Richard Cohen, did not give a specific reason for the dismissal of Mr. Dees, 82, on Wednesday. nevertheless Mr. Cohen said in a statement which as a civil-rights group, the S.P.L.C. was “committed to ensuring which the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization along with the values we wish to instill from the earth.”

“When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role from the organization, we take which seriously along with must take appropriate action,” Mr. Cohen said.

Mr. Cohen’s statement suggested which Mr. Dees’s firing was linked to workplace conduct. He said the center, which will be based in Montgomery, Ala., had requested “a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate along with workplace practices” in a bid to ensure which the organization was a place where “all voices are heard along with all staff members are respected.”

In an interview on Thursday evening, Mr. Dees said he had reviewed the S.P.L.C.’s statement on his dismissal nevertheless noted which which did not include any specific allegations against him.

“All I can say will be which was not my decision,” said Mr. Dees, who added which he had limited involvement with the organization in recent years.

Asked whether he had engaged in any behavior which could have been perceived as improper, he replied, “I have no idea how people take things.”

Mr. Dees along with the S.P.L.C. have been credited with undermining the influence of the Klan along with various other extremist-affiliated groups. nevertheless in recent years, the center has come under scrutiny for its classifications of “hate groups,” along with whether the organization has abused which label in pursuit of a political agenda or increased donations.

Mr. Dees, the son of an Alabama farmer, sold his book publishing business to begin the civil rights law practice which could eventually become the S.P.L.C. in 1971. His co-founders were the civil rights leader Julian Bond along with another young Montgomery lawyer, Joe Levin.