She Can’t Win: Oprah’s OWN Facing Sex Discrimination Lawsuit

February 2, 2013  |  

Source: Getty Images

It seems like every time OWN takes one step forward, it hits a bump that can possibly hurt the progress.

Carolyn Hommel is suing OWN for sex and pregnancy discrimination, alleging she was on track to becoming a vice president before she got pregnant, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

In the lawsuit filed in a Los Angeles court on Friday, Hommel says she was hired in 2010 as Director of Scheduling and Acquisitions.  She says along with the compliment that she was on the VP track, she received a good performance review from her supervisor. Hommel was replaced by a temp employee while she was on maternity leave but when she returned, many of her duties had been reassigned to that employee and she was left out of important meetings.

She gave birth in February 2012 and one month later, she was told she was being laid off. Hommel states that she was told to apply for the vice president job but someone else was hired. She also states that her boss Michael Garner, also named in the lawsuit, made up an entirely different performance review that made Hommel’s position seem less than senior and therefore, she wouldn’t qualify for a vice president position.

Now, we all know OWN was going through it after it launched in 2011 so it is plausible that she just got caught in the shuffle trying to keep the network afloat; however, Hommel says she was demoted and eventually let go because she got pregnant and took leave.

The damages she’s seeking are unspecified.

It should be noted that Oprah is not named in the lawsuit so it doesn’t have anything to do with her directly.  However, she’s probably well aware of what’s going on because something like this is the last thing she needs to deal with on top of still trying to get some ratings.

OWN reps chose not to comment on the situation.

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  • Lauren S. Clark

    Do not know what to say. Hopefully, they will work it out.

    • Lauren S. Clark

      Also, known as L-Boogie 🙂

  • FromUR2UB

    Even if she was told she was on track for VP, an adult should understand that’s not a promise or guarantee. In business, nothing in writing means “it wasn’t said”. She must have put a lot of confidence into that if she got pregnant and took leave when she was still so new on the job. She really hadn’t established a strong track record before she needed to take a leave. These days, pregnancy is an option; she probably could have waited a while longer. It’s not like she was afflicted with cancer and had to take a medical leave of absence.

  • Nikki

    Well, that’s what happens when you take leave sometimes. Someone else has to do your job and if they are better at it, you just might lose it. It sucks, but these people just want results.

    • Ms. Kameria

      Exactly……moral of the day (for me): Don’t get knocked up. Nobody wants a pregnant woman as a liability at their company.

    • exactly, thats why you need to make yourself indepensable before you get a gut full of human, that way whenever you leave, everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off, things dont function without u. Become irreplaceable because there is no such thing as loyalty in business, the endgame is results that produce money