The former executive director of Brattleboro [Vt.] Community Television is suing the nonprofit station, alleging that she was fired because she is a lesbian. Robin Chaia Mide, who left the station in July, accuses the station of wrongful termination, breach of good faith and fair dealing, intentional and
reckless infliction of emotional distress, discrimination based on sexual orientation, and retaliatory discharge from employment. "In my 15 to 20 years of working in employment law, I have rarely seen a
discrimination case this blatant," said Mide's attorney, Norman Watts of Watts Law Firm in Woodstock, Vt. "My client was terminated because of her sexuality."
BCTV, represented by lawyer John Mabie of Brattleboro, has denied any wrongdoing in Mide's firing, in documents filed in Windham Superior Court. Mabie said in the documents that Mide failed to perform her duties as executive director and mismanaged more than $8,500 in funds. BCTV seeks a jury
trial and the dismissal of Mide's complaints, along with the recovery of damages and attorney's fees. The station hired Mide in September 1999. When she left in July of this year, Mabie said her contract was not renewed because of "irreconcilable differences." Her contract had expired in June. According to court documents, she had a verbal agreement with the BCTV board that a new contract would be drafted.
Mide said in her suit she was also "subjected to insulting, harassing, embarrassing, intimidating, and humiliating treatment." She said she was the victim of "homophobic sentiments." The court documents state that one representative of BCTV referred to a heterosexual female as "a real woman." "My sense is that the overall problem was my client's sexual orientation and all the other problems came from that," said Watts. BCTV, a registered nonprofit, operates two community channels. It is funded through franchise fees from Adelphia Communications, Southern Vermont Cable Company, and individual donations.