Lawsuit alleges extra-marital affair, wrongful termination

By Kyla Asbury | May 8, 2013

Sizemore


CHARLESTON - A woman is suing Dream Catcher Creative LLC, claiming it wrongfully terminated her employment after she ended an extra-marital affair with its owner.

D. Scot Jackson, the owner of Dream Catcher, also was named as a defendant in the suit.

On Jan. 1, 2008, Tammy Harper and Jackson began engaging in an extra-marital relationship while Jackson was married, according to a complaint filed April 24 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Harper claims in February 2008, at the urging of Jackson, she quit her employment with the Arnold Agency, where she had been for almost nine years, to work for Jackson and Dream Catcher.

Jackson promised Harper that he was hiring her for her job abilities and not because of their relationship and that she never would lose her job if their affair ended, according to the suit.

Harper claims on Feb. 25, 2008, she started at Dream Catcher and served as the business manager/marketing director, where Jackson was her direct supervisor.

In October 2008, Jackson provided Harper with a $5,000 per year raise and also paid for her tuition at West Virginia University as a benefit, according to the suit.

Harper claims she also was provided with health and dental insurance and her daughter's tuition at Charleston Catholic High School was paid for by the defendants for the 2009-2010 school year.

On Aug. 21, 2009, Harper told Jackson that their affair was over and that she did not want any further outside contact with him, but intended to remain employed, according to the suit.

Harper claims on Aug. 24, 2009, Jackson moved her office at her employment and on Aug. 28, 2009, she went out of town, but did not inform Jackson that she was going out of town.

On Aug. 29, 2009, Jackson sent text messages to Harper that were abusive, threatening and hostile, according to the suit.

Harper claims on Aug. 31, 2009, Jackson terminated her employment at Dream Catcher, but on Sept. 1, 2009, he sent her an e-mail telling her she was instead laid off from her position, due to the financial situation of Dream Catcher.

On Sept. 10, 2009, Jackson forwarded Harper a certified letter proposing a separation agreement and general release, in an effort to silence Harper about his hostile, abusive, discriminatory and threatening conduct toward her in her employment, according to the suit.

Harper claims she refused to sign the agreement and on Oct. 2, 2009, she notified the defendants of her intention to file a complaint.

The parties entered into negotiations for resolution of the claims and an agreement was entered into in which Harper would release all claims in exchange for $75,000, paid in three installments on Dec. 1, 2009, Dec. 1, 2010, and Dec. 1, 2011, according to the suit.

Harper claims the defendants have only paid $52,000 of the agreed upon $75,000 and, as a result, breached the settlement agreement.

The defendants subjected Harper to a hostile work environment and discriminated against her because of her sex, according to the suit.

Harper claims the defendants also retaliated against her and violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act.

Harper is seeking the court to enter a permanent injunction against the defendants, ordering them to cease and desist from engaging in unlawful conduct; to enter a permanent injunction against the defendants, ordering them to establish ongoing training programs for employees regarding sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace; back pay and front pay; and compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. She is being represented by Vaughn T. Sizemore of Bailey & Wyant PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-791

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Bailey & Wyant PLLC

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