A lawsuit brought against Beasley Broadcast Group by an eight-year veteran of its Las Vegas cluster has shifted to federal court at the request of the company.
Knight vs. Beasley Broadcasting of Nevada et. al. was filed by Kathy England of the England Law Office on behalf of Courtney Knight, who served as New Business Development, Event Sales Manager and Marketing Director for Beasley/Las Vegas from 2012 to 2014, following a promotion from Marketing Director.
Knight joined the Beasley stations in 2006, as a promotions coordinator for Beasley’s Country KCYE-FM 102.7 in Las Vegas, after serving as the communications manager for former Rep. Shelly Berkley’s 2o06 reelection campaign, which she won.
In an interview with RBR + TVBR, England says Knight’s claims will remain exactly the same when the case is tried in U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.
On Nov. 17, Beasley requested that Knight’s case be shifted from Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District Court.
England explains, “Two of the claims are based on Federal statutes, and Knight has the right to file the suit in state or Federal court. Knight opted for state court, but Beasley has the right to request a venue change.”
This was done by Chad C. Butterfield and Sheri M. Thome of Wilson, Elser, Moskowitz, Edelman & Dicker — a full-service law firm with over 800 attorneys in 30 offices throughout the U.S.
Butterfield is an associate in the Wilson Elser Las Vegas office, while Thome is the regional managing partner.
Butterfield declined to comment on the case when reached by RBR + TVBR; a Beasley corporate spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.
At issue is whether or not Beasley — reflected in the lawsuit as Beasley Broadcasting Group, Beasley Media Group, and Beasley Broadcasting of Nevada — engaged in violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of the Family Medical Leave Act. Additionally, Knight claims Beasley violated the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, which prohibits gender discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, and that her contract was breached when Beasley fired her.
According to Knight, a contract she signed upon her 2012 promotion gave Beasley the right to terminate her for any reason, with Beasley paying either four months of Knight’s base salary or, if less, the remainder of her salary per her contracted terms as a severance.
Knight formerly announced her pregnancy in January 2014, after casually mentioning it before the end of 2013.
On July 20, 2014, Knight gave birth to her child and, upon returning Sept. 29 to Beasley/Las Vegas, was moved to the position of Event Sales Manager.
On Oct. 15, Knight was dismissed from the company and claims VP/Market Manager Tom Humm requested that she sign a document requiring her to forego any litigation should she wish to receive her severance. She also notes that a six-month noncompete agreement was enforced and that she complied to avoid legal trouble.
A jury trial is expected, per the request of Knight’s attorney.