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KMOV’s Conners: ‘Management Wanted to Get Rid of An Older Anchor’

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - After a legal setback this week, former KMOV anchor Larry Conners took to his familiar soapbox on Facebook to explain his next move.

Since being fired in May for comments he made on Facebook about the Internal Revenue Service, Conners has sought a temporary restraining order on a non-compete clause the longtime anchor signed with KMOV and its parent company, Belo Corporation. On Friday, a judge refused to issue such an order.

“Some are seeing this as a set-back,” Conners told his 4,400 Facebook followers Sunday night, “and while I appreciate your concern, this is just part of the process. A thirty day delay at this stage doesn’t mean that much one way or the other, and we are confident that the judge will accept our reasoning.”

Conners’ reasoning is that since he was terminated from his position, the non-compete clause is null and void. The clauses are common in the broadcast news industry but banned in some states. Conners wrote Sunday that “generally, Missouri courts are against non-compete clauses.”

Conners has bemoaned the non-compete clause on several occasions. “Why would any human being want to keep someone from earning a living to support his/her family?” he asked in a June 9 post on Facebook.

The former anchor has been a guest and guest host on several conservative radio shows since his comments and termination drew national attention in May.

Despite the controversy surrounding the comments, Conners claims that his termination was something the station had in mind prior to the post. As a result, he continues to move forward with an “age discrimination” complaint he has filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He discussed the complaint again Sunday night.

“That case examines the underlining reason for my termination. In other words, do you fire a 66 year old news anchor with 38 years in St. Louis for the ‘facebook policy infraction’?” Conners asked. “A suspension, a reprimand, anything short of termination were options short of termination … except KMOV management wanted to get rid of an older anchor and his salary.”

Conners also introduced a third layer to his legal saga with KMOV and Belo: an upcoming National Labor Relations Board ruling on whether the station had a formal Facebook policy since, Conners claims, it was never negotiated with the union.

If it doesn’t exist, how can I be fired for violating such a policy?” he asked Sunday.

Conners expects the NLRB ruling to be handed down this month. Meanwhile, a full hearing on his attempt to block the non-compete clause is scheduled for September 3.

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