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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