Oprah Winfrey's OWN Sued for Pregnancy Discrimination

February 5, 2013

OWN, Oprah Winfrey's television network was sued last week in a lawsuit filed by a former employee--who claims that she experienced sex and pregnancy discrimination while working for the network.

In the Los Angeles, California pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Carolyn Hommel, former employee for the OWN network, claims that she was hired as the senior director of OWN's scheduling and acquisitions in 2010. Hommel states in the suit that in 2011, she received favorable performance reviews with a raise, and was told she was en route to becoming a vice-president. When Hommel was forced to take a medical leave during her pregnancy, she claims that her job duties were replaced by a temporary employee.

After giving birth in March of 2012 and returning from maternity leave, Hommel alleges that she was laid off, but encouraged to re-apply for the vice president position. She claims in the lawsuit that she was passed over for the job, because her boss created a performance review that made her job responsibilities appear to be less senior than the new position required.

In the Los Angeles sex discrimination lawsuit, Hommel claims that her layoff and demotion were directly related to her becoming pregnant and requiring medical leave during pregnancy. The lawsuit alleges sex discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, disability discrimination, retaliation and failure to compensate wages upon termination.

As Vincent Howard has discussed in a previous Santa Ana employment lawyers blog, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was passed in 1978 by Congress, as a federal Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 amendment. The PDA was passed to keep pregnant women in the U.S. workplace from experiencing discrimination in hiring, compensation, job termination, layoffs, equal opportunity for job opportunities, promotions, fringe benefits or any other terms or conditions of employment. Under Title IV, discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or any medical conditions due to pregnancy constitutes illegal sex discrimination.

Contact Vincent Howard at Howard Law, PC today, for questions about your Southern California labor and employment rights.

Oprah's OWN Hit With Sex Discrimination Lawsuit, The Hollywood Reporter, February 1, 2013

Oprah's OWN Network Hit With Sex Discrimination Lawsuit, Vibe.com, February 2, 2013

Related Web Resources:

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (EEOC)

Facts About Pregnancy Discrimination, (EEOC)

Pregnancy Discrimination, (EEOC)

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC)

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