Oprah Winfrey's TV Network Sued for Employment Discrimination & Wrongful Termination in Los Angeles

oprah-winfrey-16x9 Oprah Winfrey's TV network OWN is one of the latest celebrity owned companies sued for wrongful termination and discrimination.  Former employee and Senior Director Carolyn Hommel filed suit against OWN in Los Angeles Superior Court.  Hommel alleges she was replaced by a temporary employee after going on pregnancy leave.

A month after giving birth, Hommel alleges that OWN "laid her off" after she had already been demoted and given an undeserved bad review.

Under California law, most employers are not allowed to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for taking pregnancy or disability leave.  The question is did OWN fire Hommel for other reasons.

Price is Right Model Gets $8.5 Million Award for Pregnancy Discrimination

"The Price is Right" has been hit with an $8.5 million jury verdict for pregnancy discrimination against former "Barker Beauty" model Brandi Cochran.  The 41 year old former Price is Right model says that she was not allowed to return to work after her maternity leave in violation of California law.

The Los Angeles jury determined the former model's pregnancy was the reason she wasn't rehired and awarded Cochran $776,944 in regular damages and $7.7 million in punitive damages.  In their defense, producers FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions said they were satisfied with the five models working on the show at the time Cochran sought to return.

"I'm humbled. I'm shocked," Cochran said after the jury announced its verdict. "I'm happy that justice was served today not only for women in the entertainment industry, but women in the workplace."

The producers will appeal the verdict stating: "We believe the verdict in this case was the result of a flawed process in which the court, among other things, refused to allow the jury to hear and consider that 40 percent of our models have been pregnant," and further "important" evidence.
This was not the first employment lawsuit by a "Barker Beauty" against the show's producers.
What do you think of this huge verdict for failing to bring back an employee who went on pregnancy leave?
Please post your thoughts on ShiraziLawFirm.com/blog

 

"The Bachelor" Race Discrimination Lawsuit Thrown Out of Court

Update from a previous post:

Several months back I wrote a post on the lawsuit filed by two African-American men who sued the shows "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" for race discrimination because they did not have African-American contestants (see my first post below).  Well, last week the judge dismissed the case on grounds that casting decisions by the network and the series' producers are protected by the First Amendment.

The federal judge stated that while the Plaintiffs' efforts are "laudable," they cannot regulate the show's content under the First Amendment.  The judge ruled that:  "Ultimately, whatever messages `The Bachelor' and `The Bachelorette' communicate or are intended to communicate – whether explicitly, implicitly, intentionally, or otherwise – the First Amendment protects the right of the producers of these shows to craft and control those messages, based on whatever considerations the producers wish to take into account".

What do you think of this ruling on First Amendment grounds?  Wouldn't then all discrimination be allowable as freedom of expression?

Comment below or at www.ShiraziLawFirm.com/blog

 

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:  Two African Americans are suing the long-running show “The Bachelor” for race discrimination.  The two men say that they—like many other African Americans—were not chosen by the show’s producers because of their race.

This case brings up two points.  First, most people think of race discrimination as being outlawed only by employment laws.  It seems unlikely that a Bachelor contestant would be an employee, but race discrimination laws can still apply.  Many states have civil rights laws prohibiting race discrimination in all sorts of situations—such as public accommodations.

Next, there is the question of whether there are exceptions to the civil rights and employment laws for such discrimination.  In the employment law context, many state laws have an “entertainment” exception.  For example, if a Broadway play or TV show is trying to cast someone to play the role of Martin Luther King, it is permissible to only hire/cast someone who is an African American male.

Now, The Bachelor does not have specific racial roles, but the producers may (rightly or wrongly) argue that their target audience is a specified gender, age, and race group.  This is a tough one to decide.  What do you think?

http://www.shirazilawfirm.com/suing-the-bachelor-for-race-discrimination/