Oprah’s OWN network is being hit with a discrimination lawsuit by a former female employee who claims she was let go after she became pregnant, for requiring medical leave during the pregnancy, it has emerged.
Carolyn Hommel has filed the papers in the Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging network executives fired her only because she became pregnant, The Hollywood Reporter informs.
Hommel was hired in 2010 senior director of scheduling and acquisitions and, according to court documents, received assurances and, most importantly, glowing performance reviews that she was on track to making vice president.
She became pregnant and, at one point during the pregnancy, was forced to take medical leave because of a medical emergency.
It was then that her bosses started working on squeezing her out, she claims, by first hiring a temporary employee in her place.
“Hommel says her duties were gradually taken away from her and given to the temporary employee, and she was later excluded from numerous meetings when she returned to the office,” THR says.
One month after she gave birth, in March 2012, Hommel was told she was being let go.
“She was encouraged to re-apply for the vice president job, but she was passed over. She claims that her 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.’ Garner also is a defendant in the suit,” THR reports.
Hommel is now seeking unspecified damages for unlawful termination of contract, but also for gender “discrimination, disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation and willful failure to pay wages upon discharge or termination,” notes the same media outlet.
Calls for comment with OWN and Oprah’s publicists were not immediately returned when word of the lawsuit hit the news.