A former Daystar Television Network employee has filed a sexual harassment suit against the Christian network, alleging Vice President Joni Lamb's father of touching her inappropriately and initiating unwanted sexual talk.
In a suit filed Wednesday, Jennifer Falcon alleges sexual harassment by then Daystar Administrative Manager of Special Projects Bill Trammell, who is the father-in-law of Daystar co-founder Marcus Lamb.
Other claims put forth by the suit include disparate treatment based on gender discrimination, defamation, slander and libel.
According to the suit, Falcon, claims Trammell would ask her to come into his office for what he referred to as "Quiet Time.
"Mr. Trammell would make Plaintiff hug him tightly for long periods of time. He would often put his hands very close to Plaintiff’s breasts or buttocks during these extended touchings. On more than two occasions, Mr. Trammell told Plaintiff to sit on his lap," the suit alleges.
She also claims that he asked to be a "husband" to her until she found one and would often talk about "sexual things" during work.
On Dec. 8, 2009, Falcon said she was sick and Trammell visited to bring her soup despite her refusal for him to come, according to her complaint. When his wife called, Trammell lied about his whereabouts. He was confronted by his wife and Joni Lamb later that day and the very next day, Joni Lamb demoted Falcon, the plaintiff claims.
About two months later, on January 31, 2010, Falcon said her pay was reduced despite having received an “outstanding” performance review two weeks earlier. Then on February 11, 2010, she was fired after nine years at the company.
Trammell, by contrast, receive a pay raised later that year and faced no disciplinary action.
The single mother said she did not report the sexual harassment earlier because she was a single mother and couldn't afford to lose her job.
Falcon is one of the three former employees whom Daystar claims tried to profit from Marcus Lamb's extramarital affair to sue the network. Her suit is the second civil lawsuit against the evangelical Christian network, after Jeanette Hawkins filed the first suit in December.
According to the Feb. 16 complaint, Falcon also accuses the Lambs of making defamatory statements against her on television. During the network's Celebration episode on November 30, 2010, Marcus Lamb admitted to an affair and claimed that he decided to go public with the story since three persons were attempting to extort them for millions.
Nearly two weeks prior to their television appearance, according to Falcon's suit, the Lambs were notified by Hawkins and Falcon's lawyer, James Fisher, of the pending lawsuits. She said the couple spoke of the three persons on television knowing that her name was already on court documents.
Falcon is asking for a trial by jury, back pay, compensatory damages, punitive and exemplary damages and attorney fees.
Daystar denied any wrongdoing in a statement responding to Falcon's lawsuit.
"Daystar lawyers are in receipt of and have reviewed the petition and vigorously deny these outrageous allegations," the network stated.
"Further, any and all employment claims by the plaintiff are barred by an enforceable termination release agreement, which she voluntarily signed and for which she gladly received benefit."
Larry Ross, a public relations executive who represents Daystar, said the filing of the lawsuit appeared to be timed to "defame" the network during its on-air fundraising campaign, "Sharaton," the Dallas Morning News reported.
Following Hawkins' suit, Daystar countersued contending that former employees are trying to "injure the reputation and business interests of Daystar." The Dallas-based network also took their charges of extortion against the three individuals to the police.
But in December, Dallas-area police dropped the investigation into the allegations made by Marcus and Joni Lamb, concluding no any unlawful activity took place.
Falcon's case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.