Woman Sues OWN Alleging Pregnancy Discrimination

by | February 3, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Oprah Winfrey, TV News

Oprah Winfrey (Photo: Getty Images)

A California woman is accusing OWN of discriminating against her when she became pregnant — reducing her responsibilities and eventually laying her off after she took a medical leave.

The woman, Carolyn Hommel, filed suit against the Oprah Winfrey Network in Los Angeles Superior Court Friday, asking for “unspecified” damages, according to this story on the Hollywood Reporter Web site.

The THR story has no statement or reaction from Oprah Winfrey or OWN, which is owned by Discovery Communications.

The story does detail the woman’s claims, as laid out in court papers, that she was “on track” to be promoted to a vice president’s position at OWN.

But when she became pregnant and took a leave, her career at the company went in the opposite direction, the lawsuit alleges.

The suit stems from last March, when Hommel was laid off (according to the suit), just a month after giving birth (she had a girl). The suit says she started work at OWN in 2010, as senior director of scheduling and acquisitions, and received positive feedback at her first performance review. She says in the suit that she was told she was “on track” for a vice presidency.

Then she took a medical leave during her pregnancy and, her suit alleges, her role at OWN was gradually diminished until she was let go.

Meanwhile, click on the pic to watch a recent clip from “Oprah’s Next Chapter” with Cissy Houston: