Ex-Employee Sues Oprah's Own Network For Sexual Discrimination

oprah winfreyA former OWN employee claims she was terminated after revealing

Photo: Michelly Rall/Getty Images

Oprah’s OWN network may be faring better in ratings; however, it’s finding itself amid a sex discrimination lawsuit. Ex-employee Caroline Hommel filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court Friday claiming she was laid off from the OWN network months after taking medical leave due to a pregnancy.  

According to Hommel’s complaint, a temporary employee, Whitney Holland, was brought in to fill in for Hommel during a two-week medical leave in August 2011. 

Upon returning from medical leave in September, Hommel asserts Holland continued taking on more of her previous responsibilities at the office including leading weekly scheduling and research meetings.  

In addition, Hommel claims that in the following months, she continued to be “excluded from meetings, emails, and information on the status of projects.” Information that Hommel says was available to her before announcing her pregnancy. 

According to the complaint, Hommel was laid off while on another medical leave in March 2012 that was reportedly due to a re-structuring eliminating her Senior Director position.  

Hommel claims she was told to apply for a newly added Vice President of Scheduling position. After allegedly not receiving an interview, Hommel later learned Holland was hired in the position.  

In the complaint, Hommel says she was told at a March 2011 performance review she was on track to become a Vice President at OWN. 

Hommel also claims she filed several discrimination complaints before being laid off, but nothing came of them. 

Hommel is seeking a trial by jury, alleging sex discrimination, disability discrimination, and failure to pay for more than 40 hours vacation time accrued during her time of employment. 

The Hollywood Reporter has the full complaint HERE.

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