Employee Embarrasses Employer, Who Fires Employee, Who Sues Employer

Managers, be thankful that you don’t work in news television.  Apparently, news anchors aren’t the easiest employees to manage.  Local news celebrities just might have the market cornered on employee off-duty conduct that causes employers the biggest headaches.  And now, employees’ off-duty conduct is at the heart of an employee-versus-employer lawsuit.

Oh, those crazy news anchors!  Always making news of their own! You may recall from earlier posts the saga involving the once anchorwoman for KYW-TV Philadelphia.  Hmmm. Scandals, actually, would be more accurate.

Let’s start with Alycia, seeing as she’s the trophy-holder in the scandal department.  First there was the “Dr. Phil episode.” She spilled her heart (and lots of tears) on national television during an appearance on the Dr. Phil Show and discussed in detail her failed marriage and the prospect of dating.  Then she was busted sending pictures of herself clad in a skimpy bikini to NFL Network sports anchor Rich Eisen. Eisen’s wife was the so-called busting party.

Alycia Lane

Then, in December 2007, Lane was arrested in New York and charged with assaulting a police officer.  There also were allegations that she’d verbally attacked the female officer with degrading and homophobic slurs.

The officer was in plainclothes when the incident occurred.  Oops.

KYW terminated her a month later and issued a fairly quiet (and gentle) press release.

Then, last month, after the story trail had gone cold, Lane was back in the news.  But this time, it was her former co-anchor, Larry Mendte, who had the spotlight.  In May, FBI officials searched Mendte’s home and office computers triggering speculation that Lane may have pointed the finger at Mendte for leaking the Eisen email.  It hasn’t been confirmed by Lane, Mendte, or the FBI that the search may have been the result of suspicion that he’d secretly read Lane’s emails or otherwise accessed her computer.

The latest?  Lane has filed suit in Philadelphia against KYW.  The lawsuit against her employer alleges that the station’s management had a pattern of “deep-seated gender-discriminatory animus” towards women in the workplace.

Today’s Wilmington News Journal reports:

The lawsuit says the station told Lane to interview TV psychologist Phil McGraw in 2004 and suggested that she talk about some of her past relationships. She said she understood that inappropriate personal elements would be removed and was mortified when footage of her crying about her divorce was included in a heavily promoted KYW newscast.

The suit says that because of those decisions, Lane “was branded in the press as someone who sought to make herself the news, rather than to merely report the news.

The defamation suit alleges that the station invaded her privacy and spread malicious gossip that eventually caused her to lose career opportunities and destroying her reputation.

Stay tuned, viewers, I feel that it’s safe to say there’s more to come in this drama suited for prime-time TV.

Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News at Philly.com:  Alycia Tells Her Side In Suit

(AP) The Wilmington News Journal:  Alycia Lane Sues Former Reporter

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