NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) APA Nashville agent Cass Scripps is seeking to get out of his contract with the talent agency, claiming an abusive workplace culture that led to an office assault.
Scripps, agent for Clint Black and Corey Smith among others, filed suit April 19 in federal court in Nashville after initially suing in state court, according to The Tennessean. Scripps has been with APA since 2012 and stopped working for the company several weeks ago.
APA says Scripps remains under contract and cannot work elsewhere, according to the paper.
Scripps claims two execs created an “intolerable workplace” environment starting last summer to “push Scripps out of APA while attempting to [ensure] that Mr. Scripps’ clients would stay at APA” if he decided to exit.
The execs allegedly went behind his back to directly contact his clients’ representatives and sent Scripps “hostile and abusive email communications in further efforts to create a hostile work environment.” The names of the execs are redacted in the lawsuit, according to the Tennessean.
Scripps claims he attempted to remedy the situation by talking directly with the execs in January but, after leaving the brief meeting was thrown against a wall by one of the execs. A letter is attached to the lawsuit, apparently from APA chief administrative officer Michael Conway, detailing rules for Scripps and the execs to follow and said the one who allegedly assaulted Scripps “apologized for his actions and had no ill intentions.”
“I believe you both are honorable men,” Conway reportedly wrote. “I will require that you both not disparage any colleague moving forward, and conduct yourselves as accomplished APA professionals I know you to be.”
Scripps claims he responded he never received an apology and that the rules were vague. Scripps’ attorney eventually sent APA letter that “as a matter of law, APA’s decision to tolerate a hostile workplace effectively discharged” Scripps from employment, according to the paper.
APA general counsel Julia Johnson sent a letter to Scripps in March saying the interpersonal issues “don’t come close to a level that could result in a ‘constructive termination.'”
“In fact, APA believes the recent meetings between you and Mr. Conway, as well as (the unnamed executive) and Mr. Conway, and the agreement reached at the end of those meetings was both productive and encouraging, and there is no reason to believe you and (the unnamed executive) cannot work together cooperatively going forward.”
APA says these legal disputes should be decided in arbitration and the lawsuit alleges that APA sent a letter to another talent agency to not hire Scripps. APA continued to pay Scripps’ base salary of $200,000 according to documents attached to the lawsuit, the Tennessean said.
Further comment from APA was not available at press time.