Experts: Kirt Webster Could Possibly Land in Court
PR giant Kirt Webster, who is currently under fire for an alleged history of misconduct with clients and subordinates, may possibly find himself dealing with a tricky situation -- in court -- according to experts.
As reported in the Tennessean, the way Webster's firm was constructed did not allow subordinates any way to report his behavior, since all complaints would go directly to him or those close to him.
If that sounds like a problematic situation, it is. Experts said this case illustrates a challenge that faces many small businesses. "If it is a small firm and the person at the top is the source, there’s only so many places you can go,” explained Patrick McCarthy, a consultant and lawyer at the Center for Organizational and Human Resource Effectiveness at Middle Tennessee State University.
According to an ex-employee who requested anonymity, Webster PR didn’t have a human resources department; instead, Webster allegedly told employees to report complaints to his assistant, which according to reports resulted in nothing but scolding.
McCarthy added that, given a pattern could be drawn that showed a hostile work environment, former employees might have "a pretty strong case" against Webster.
The Tennessean said Webster's attorney did not immediately respond to a phone message with questions about the company's protocol for harassment complaints.
Webster’s controversy began when former country singer Austin Rick alleged last month that the executive sexually assaulted him multiple times over the period of 2007-2008, when he was a client of Webster’s and pursuing a music career under the name Austin Cody. Numerous employees of the firm have added a string of distressing stories, which range from allegations of verbal abuse and intimidation, to propositions and accusations of being drugged.
Webster has denied the allegations in a statement, and has since stepped down from his post.
See All Artists That Have Left Webster PR So Far