Former 'Price is Right' Model Awarded $7.7M for Pregnancy Discrimination, Wrongful Termination

December 7, 2012

A former model on the popular game show, The Price is Right, has recently been awarded $7,763,440 in monetary damages, after a Los Angeles Superior Court jury decided that The Price is Right Productions and FremantleMedia engaged in pregnancy discrimination and wrongful termination by firing the employee due to pregnancy.

Brandi Cochran, former Miss USA, sued the game show in 2010 for gender discrimination and wrongful termination when her employment was terminated after working for eight years as a 'Price is Right' model, after revealing that she was pregnant. Cochran claimed in her lawsuit, that Vincent Howard has been following, that over the course of her employment she had observed her employers harassing other models who revealed pregnancies on the show, and even delayed trying to conceive out of fear that she might lose her job. When she discovered she was pregnant in 2007, she reportedly kept the pregnancy a secret because she feared job termination.

Cochran also claimed that after finally telling one of the producers that she was pregnant, one producer responded that it was no surprise as Cochran's breasts had become so large, and another producer implied that had she not kept the pregnancy secret, she might have been one of the models who was fired. She was then reportedly pressured to give an announcement on the show that she was expecting twins, and when she started showing, Cochran claims that the producers stopped calling her to work. During this time Cochran stated that she was subjected to discriminatory jokes about her weight gain.

The lawsuit states that Cochran lost one of the twins, due to a miscarriage, and the other child was born premature, with health problems. Cochran claimed in the suit that this was an extremely stressful period, and she was trying to care for her baby's health needs, suffering from postpartum depression, and trying lose weight at the same time, to get back to work.

The show's producers allegedly ignored Cochran's inquires about coming back to work, and she later found out from The Price is Right Website that she had been removed as a model. She was then terminated.

Pregnancy Discrimination, as Vincent Howard discussed in a previous Santa Ana employment attorneys blog is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. Discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or any medical conditions having to do with pregnancy is considered sex discrimination under federal law. It is also against the law to retaliate against an employee for revealing any pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, for filing any discrimination charges, or for being involved in any way in a discrimination investigation or for testifying against discriminatory practices.

The jury awarded Cochran with $7.7 million in punitive damages, and $776,000 in compensatory damages. FremantleMedia stated that they are planning to appeal, and expect to be fully vindicated after the lawsuit has been reviewed.

Vincent Howard, Howard Law, PC's managing attorney, represents individuals with labor or employment issues. Contact our law firm today for a free consultation about your California labor and employment rights.

'Price Is Right' model wins $7.7M in discrimination, wrongful termination lawsuit, KABC-TV, November 21, 2012

'Price Is Right' Model Wins Discrimination Lawsuit, The Hollywood Reporter, November 21, 2012

Ex-'Price is Right' model gets $7.7M in damages, Associated Press, November 21, 2012

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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