Former OWN employee brings discrimination suit in Los Angeles

Television and media giant Oprah Winfrey’s television network, OWN, is being sued by a former employee in a Los Angeles court. In the suit, the former employee claims that the network violated employment laws by discriminating against her.

In 2010, the woman was hired to work at OWN as the senior director of scheduling and acquisitions. However, the when the woman got pregnant she needed to take medical leave. According to the lawsuit, a temporary employee replaced the woman while she needed to stay home. Shortly after the former employee’s baby was born, she was fired from the network.

The woman is suing the network for an unnamed amount of money. She claims that the termination was the result of sex discrimination and pregnancy discrimination — both of which are illegal under federal and California employee laws.

Under these laws, employers cannot illegally discriminate against an employee on the basis of several different factors including age, marital status, race, sexual orientation or sex. If an employee faces discrimination because of one of these factors, that employee could be entitled to compensation. Furthermore, if an employee is fired because of illegal discrimination, that employee has been wrongfully terminated and could be entitled to compensation.

In this case, if the former OWN employee can show that her sex, or pregnancy, was used as a reason to terminate her, then it is likely she suffered from a wrongful termination and could get damages.

These laws exist to ensure that employees do not have to work in a hostile environment. Employees should not have to go to work and suffer for something they have no control over. Under California law, these employees have protections and should not be afraid to stand up for their rights.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Oprah’s OWN Network Sued For Sex Discrimination,” Feb. 4, 2013

FindLaw Network