Oprah Winfrey's Very OWN Sex Discrimination Lawsuit
February 4th, 2013 2:31pm EST
Oprah Winfrey and her OWN network are being sued for sex discrimination after a former employee alleges she was pushed out when she got pregnant.
She might not have babies of her own, but does that mean Oprah created a corporate culture hostile to moms? One former employee thinks so.
Carolyn Hommel was the senior director of scheduling and acquisitions at Oprah's cable network OWN and told she was on track to become vice president after multiple favorable performance reviews — until she got pregnant. Then, she says, the bottom fell out of her career.
Forced to take a medical leave during her pregnancy, Hommel claims she was replaced with a temp who gradually took over all her duties and, upon her return to the office, was excluded from important high-level meetings.
A month after giving birth, Hommel was laid off. Although she was encouraged to reapply for the vice president position, she was passed over after her boss Michael Garner allegedly made up a false performance review which "made Hommel's job duties and responsibilities appear less 'senior' and therefore not a candidate for the new vice president position," according to court docs.
The suit points fingers for sex discrimination, disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation and willful failure to pay wages upon discharge or termination, claiming that Hommel's loss of employment was a direct result of her pregnancy and medical leave. She is seeking unspecified damages.
So far there has been no comment from Oprah or any OWN representatives.
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