Oprah’s OWN Hit With Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

by Yesha Callahan

Oprah

Last Friday, in Los Angeles Supreme Court, Carolyn Hommel, a former employee of OWN, filed a lawsuit against the company for sex discrimination and willful failure to pay wages upon discharge or termination.

Hommel states she was hired in 2010 as senior director of scheduling and acquisitions at the network, but even though she never received an unfavorable performance review, she was replaced by a temporary employee when she was forced to take medical leave during her pregnancy.

The complaint alleges that on March 19, 2012, shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Hommel was told she was being laid off. Although she was encouraged to reapply for a vice president job, she was passed over.

According to the lawsuit, Hommel’s boss, Michael Garner, fabricated a performance review that “made Hommel’s job duties and responsibilities appear less ‘senior’ and therefore not a candidate for the new vice president position.”

Specifics of the lawsuit can be read here.

Hommel is claiming that her demotion and layoff are a direct result of her becoming pregnant and requiring a medical leave. She is seeking unspecified damages.

  • Mademoiselle

    This is sad, but I see it a lot. The new unstated rule is if a woman on the rise is planning to have kids, she has to keep a plan b in her back pocket. I know a few women who are successful in their careers, but have had to strategically stick their toes in the water while on maternity leave because the corporate world is just that ruthless and your position isn’t guaranteed to be there when you get back — especially if they can replace you for less money. They either work from home to stay “present” or put out resumes to get a head start on the unemployment line.

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