February 4th, 2013

Workplace discrimination claims have continued to rise despite news of an improving economy and job numbers. Pregnancy discrimination has been especially prominent, with numbers rising every year since 1997. Even with these ominous numbers, it is still a surprise to learn of a pregnancy discrimination suit against the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

According to an AOL Jobs.com report, a former senior director is claiming that the network discriminated against her by not considering her for a promotion and essentially freezing her out of her current job after she became pregnant. The complaint alleges that she was hired in 2010 and performed very well. However, after she requested leave in August 2011 to deal with a pregnancy-related health issue, she was treated differently.

Her responsibilities were taken away when she returned to the office, excluded from meetings, and eventually laid off just after giving birth. After which, she claims that she applied to be a vice-president with the company was not hired.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claims that OWN violated several provisions of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), including sex discrimination, failure to prevent such discrimination, discrimination based on one’s disability, and retaliation for complaining about illegal discrimination. It seeks unspecified monetary damages for the violations.

It may seem unfathomable that in 2013, employers would still discriminate against employees, but it still occurs. Those who believe that they have been treated differently (on the basis of pregnancy or otherwise) should consult an attorney to learn more about their rights and options.

Source: AOL Jobs.com, Oprah’s OWN hit with sex and pregnancy discrimination lawsuit, February 2, 2013

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