Broadcaster Fired for Ex’s Abuse Can Try Again

     JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (CN) – A radio personality who says her ex-husband stalked and harassed her didn’t establish that she was wrongfully terminated, but she can amend her lawsuit, a federal judge ruled.
     While working for Forever of PA Inc., a Pennsylvania radio company, broadcaster Nancy Lane sought out the Women’s Help Center in Johnstown, Pa., to cope with physical abuse from her now-ex-husband, according to court records.
     Though Lane, who reportedly broadcast under the names “Daisy” and “Lexi” on Rocky 99 and Froggy 95 radio, separated from her husband on July 4, 2013, he kept abusing her, she claims.
     Lane’s ex repeatedly wrote to her work email address using fake accounts he created, calling her “bitch” and “whore,” and accusing her of having sex with a male co-worker, Lane says.
     In one email, Lane’s ex allegedly called her “the reason husbands kill wives.”
     Lane’s car tires were also slashed on July 26, 2013, as were the tires of many radio station vehicles in Forever’s parking lot three days later, according to a lawsuit she filed against the radio company.
     “Way to go” and “fans hate you” were painted on some vehicles in red, washable paint, Lane says.
     In August 2013, Lane’s ex was arrested for stalking and harassing her, jailed for about two weeks, and barred from contact with her or any of her colleagues, the complaint states.
     Lane’s ex was also allegedly jailed for conspiracy for the tire incident in September 2013.
     When he was released on probation in January 2014, Lane’s ex friend-requested her male co-anchor, emailed her, and one day called Forever impersonating a police officer, she claims.
     Days after Lane’s ex was arrested and jailed on Jan. 22, 2014, the Cambria County District Attorney’s office told that her he was soliciting her murder, so she and her male co-worker, “Boss Frog,” ought to leave town for the weekend, according to the complaint.
     Lane claims Forever’s general manager, Terry Deitz, said Lane would be on paid leave.
     But Forever fired Lane on Feb. 4, 2014, allegedly stating that “recent events involving your former husband have caused severe disruption to our business and made this decision necessary.”
     Lane sued Forever, alleging gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, as well as wrongful discharge under state law.
     Forever moved to dismiss the wrongful discharge claim for failure to state a claim.
     U.S. District Judge Kim Gibson granted the motion on Dec. 30, 2015.
     “Plaintiff argues that the Protection from Abuse Act establishes a policy of protecting domestic violence victims and survivors which demonstrates an intent on the part of the legislature to provide victims of such abuse employment-related protections,” Gibson wrote. “The court agrees that the Act establishes a policy of protecting domestic violence victims and survivors. However, that the Act protects victims and survivors in certain ways does not establish that the legislature intended to create an exception to the broadly-construed at-will employment doctrine in Pennsylvania.”
     Because Lane was an at-will employee, Forever had an “unfettered” right to terminate her since no public policy restrained this action, according to the 16-page ruling.
     “Plaintiff has not alleged that she was fired because she refused to violate the law, because she complied with the law, or because she exercised a right or privilege granted by the law,” Gibson wrote. “She has identified no clear mandate that spousal abuse victims are entitled to employment-related protections as at-will employees.”
     The court nonetheless gave Lane 21 days to amend her wrongful discharge claim.
     The parties have yet to return requests for comment emailed Sunday.

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