Woman files discrimination lawsuit against Oprah Winfrey's OWN network

By Ezekiel Hernandez,
Plaintiff says that she was stripped of her duties and laid off for taking pregnancy leave.

A woman has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Oprah Winfrey Network, saying she was retaliated against, and eventually laid off, because of her pregnancy.

The lawsuit was filed Friday and was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter. The plaintiff, Carolyn Hommel, was a senior employee at the network until 2012.

According to the complaint, Hommel was stripped of her work duties on various occasions in 2011 while taking leaves of absences for pregnancy-related medical conditions.

Hommel says that she made several formal complaints for discrimination throughout her pregnancy, many of which fell on deaf ears. She claims problems began with the hiring of a contractor to fill in for her, and eventually led to exclusion from meetings and denial of research material.

She gave birth on February 28, 2012. Three weeks later, she was laid-off for she was told was organizational "re-structuring."

Shortly after being informed of her lay-off, Hommel says her boss gave her a downgrade from the previous year in a performance review.

Other than naming 'OWN, LLC' as the defendant in the lawsuit, Oprah Winfrey was never implicated in any part of the complaint.

Hommel seeks monetary and punitive damages in excess of $25,000.

A copy of the complaint from Deadline can be viewed here.



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