'Whistleblower' alleges too much grass at the Golf Channel

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'Whistleblower' alleges too much grass at the Golf Channel

Tue Feb 09, 2010 @ 10:01AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

Large_caddyshack Maybe this lawsuit explains why the Golf Channel likes to replay "Caddyshack" over and over again.

Greg Kochis, a freelance videographer, is claiming protection as a "whistleblower" and suing the Golf Channel and NEP Broadcasting for firing him after he reported drug use by his co-workers at the cable TV network. In a complaint filed in the court of common pleas in Ohio, Kochis says there's, well, way too much grass in golf. He claims the crew would regularly smoke marijuana on the golf course during the taping and production of live golf events.

Soon after reporting the incidents to higher-ups, Kochis claims he was harassed. Colleagues allegedly refused to carpool with him, refused to share hotel rooms with him, altered his time sheet, and wrote messages like "Kochis is a rat" and "Kochis sucks d***" around the workplace.

Kochis says he met with officials at NEP Broadcasting and the Golf Channel, saying he wanted a drug-free environment and begged for help in resolving the harassment. He was terminated in June 2008. He's now seeking $100,000 as a result of wrongful discharge and violation of Ohio's Whistleblowers Protection Act.
A spokesperson for Golf Channel gave us this statement:

"Golf Channel does not tolerate drug use at the workplace by its employees or by third party contractors. Mr. Kochis was hired by and worked for NEP, not Golf Channel. Beyond this, it is our policy not to comment on matters that are the subject of pending litigation."

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The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to [email protected]

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