A Los Angeles court recently held that a former model is entitled to damages for wrongful termination and pregnancy discrimination. The model had worked for the television show “The Price is Right.” She claims that the production company responsible for managing the show broke employment laws by terminating the woman due to her pregnancy.
In 2010, the woman became pregnant and announced that she was having twins. According to the woman, the show’s producers became upset with her immediately following the announcement. Furthermore, coworkers started making inappropriate comments and jokes about the woman’s weight gain.
After her maternity leave, the woman claims that she tried to contact producers to appear again on the show. The producers supposedly ignored her calls for four months before telling the woman they were satisfied with the models that were currently on the show.
Under California employee laws, it is illegal for employers to terminate an employee just for taking family or medical leave. Under CFRA, some employees are allowed to take an unpaid leave after the birth of a child without fear of losing their job. If an employee is fired for taking this leave, then a wrongful termination has occurred.
In this case, the court agreed with the woman and ruled that she had been wrongfully terminated. As a result, the woman was awarded $7.7 million in punitive damages and $776,000 in actual damages.
However, the two production companies that employed the woman woman’s former employer maintain that they have done nothing wrong. At this point, this ruling may be appealed.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, “‘Price is Right’ Model Wins Discrimination Lawsuit,” Eriq Garnder, Nov. 21, 2012