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Fired PBS host sues former employer for breach of contract

Viewers of Public Broadcasting Service stations in Kansas will have more to hear from the former PBS host Tavis Smiley. PBS leadership dismissed him from employment late in 2017 after his staff members accused him of sexual misconduct. Smiley has announced his intention to file a lawsuit against his former employer because he said that PBS violated the terms of his contract by firing him.

Smiley expressed reluctance about suing PBS because he had built a career in public media. He said that the lawsuit was the only way to bring the truth out. He acknowledged that he had multiple relationships with staff members over the years but denied sexually harassing anyone. In an interview, he said that his long work hours accounted for his tendency to date people from the workplace.

A representative from PBS said that the organization engaged an outside law firm to investigate the allegations against Smiley. After the investigators confirmed the credibility of the accusations, PBS suspended Smiley indefinitely. According to PBS, his behavior presented the sole reason for his dismissal. A magazine article about the issue published the claim that some of his employees believed that their job positions relied on their relationships with the television host.

When a person has questions about how the terms of a contract have been applied, an attorney familiar with contract disputes may evaluate the case and suggest how to respond. An attorney might contact the opposing party and explain the person's position. If direct negotiations do not resolve the issue, an attorney may be able to file court papers and present the information at a trial.

Source: The Hill, "Fired host Tavis Smiley sues PBS for breach of contract," John Bowden, Feb. 20, 2018

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