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.

Magic Johnson Sued for Wrongful Termination and Age Discrimination in Los Angeles

Magic Johnson's former flight attendant has sued his company for wrongful termination in Los Angeles Superior Court.  The former employee on Magic Johnson's private plane, Lanita Thomas, is suing for age discrimination and various California Labor Code violations.  Ms. Thomas, 45, alleges that Magic replaced her with a much younger flight attendant because he prefers younger women in violation of the law. Ms. Thomas claims that the "pretext" for her termination by Magic was that she was seven minutes late while trying to get Magic the very specific kind of turkey he likes in his sandwiches.  Ms. Thomas-who worked for Magic since 2004-alleges that Magic hired the much younger flight attendant that temporarily substituted in for her during her prior medical leave of absence.

In addition to the age discrimination claim, Ms. Thomas is suing for California Labor Code violations, including non-payment of overtime and missed meal and rest periods.  Ms. Thomas alleges that she spent about a third of her time stocking Magic's private plane with “highly specific in-flight food and beverage choices,” including liquorice, which she was required to “regularly squeeze to make sure they were soft.”  Ms. Thomas alleges that because she was the only flight attendant and had to spend so much time on the above-mentioned tasks, that she was never allowed to take full meal or rest breaks.

What do you think of the age discrimination claim against Magic?

 

 

"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/

 

Jury Holds Los Angeles Hotel Owner Responsible for Discriminating Against Jews

   

A jury has held that the Pakistani/Muslim owner of the Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, CA discriminated against Jews holding an event at her hotel.  The jury found that a group of 18 young Jewish professionals were kicked out of the pool area at the owner's direction because of their religion--in violation of the UNRUH Civil Rights Act.  Although not an employment law, the UNRUH Act outlaws discrimination by businesses on the basis of “sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.”

According to multiple news sources, witnesses stated that the owner reportedly stated:

- "Get the [expletive] Jews out of my pool!"

- “If my [family finds] out there’s a Jewish event here, they’re going to pull money from me immediately,”

Shangri-La owner, Tehmina Adaya, denied the charges.  The jury awarded $1.2 million in damages to the group, plus another $440,000 in punitive damages, and awarded the Plaintiffs' their attorney's fees.

What do you think of this?

Reply below or at www.ShiraziLawFirm.com/blog

 

Sharon Stone Sued for Paying (yes paying) Her Nanny Overtime?

 

Sharon Stone's former nanny has sued her in Los Angeles Superior Court for, among other things, paying her overtime.  Yes, you read this right, suing for getting paid overtime.  The lawsuit alleges that the high-profile actress from Basic Instinct and Casino paid the nanny overtime, but then terminated the nanny because she accepted the overtime.  Not making any sense?

The lawsuit accuses Stone of getting angry when she found out her staff was paying the nanny overtime.  So Stone allegedly accused the nanny of "stealing" the overtime and demanded the nanny pay it back.  The lawsuit alleges that when the nanny did not pay back the overtime, her hours were cut and that she was fired shortly thereafter.

The lawsuit also alleges racial discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

What do you think of this "getting overtime" retaliation lawsuit?

Comment below or at www.ShiraziLawFirm.com/blog

 

Suing "The Bachelor" for Race Discrimination

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?

Comment below or at www.ShiraziLawFirm.com/blog