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Woman says job was eliminated at Oprah’s network due to pregnancy

Before becoming pregnant, a senior director of scheduling and acquisitions at Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network seemed to be on her way to landing the vice president position at the network. The employee had received great performance reviews while working for OWN, and she was even told that she was “on track” for being promoted to a vice president position.

Although any number of things may jeopardize one’s chances of being promoted, two factors that should not jeopardize an employee’s chances of getting a promotion in San Diego include the sex of the employee and whether or not the employee is pregnant. The worker never got the promotion that she was encouraged to apply for at OWN because she became pregnant, a newly filed lawsuit against OWN states. In addition to not being promoted as a result of retaliation, pregnancy discrimination and sex discrimination, the woman’s lawsuit states that she was also laid off.

The former OWN network employee filed the workplace retaliation and discrimination lawsuit last week in California. She is seeking damages for her former employer’s and former supervisor’s wrongdoings. According to the lawsuit, the woman had received positive feedback from her supervisor at OWN prior to becoming pregnant. But when she became pregnant and took a short medical leave during her pregnancy, the woman returned to her work only to discover that her employer had hired a temporary worker to fill her position.

The temporary employee began to take on much of the woman’s responsibilities, and after the woman went on maternity leave in February 2012, her job was eliminated and the temporary employee was promoted to vice president. The former OWN employee now believes that her boss had caused her to lose the promotion by giving the employee a negative performance review. The woman believes her boss gave her an “untruthful” review because of her pregnancy.

Source: ABC News, “Ups and downs of the Oprah Winfrey Network,” Luchina Fischer, Feb. 5, 2013


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