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Oprah's network accused of discriminating against pregnant worker

Women in Los Angeles and Long Beach should not be forced to sacrifice their jobs or careers because they are pregnant or raising young children. If women want to continue working while also raising a family, that choice should be up to them, not their employer. Unfortunately, many employers still engage in discriminatory practices against women who are pregnant, and even Oprah Winfrey's OWN network is currently being accused of retaliation, sex discrimination and pregnancy discrimination.

According to reports, a former OWN network employee filed a lawsuit against Winfrey's network and her former supervisor last week in Los Angeles Superior Court. The employee claims that she was first demoted after she needed to take a medical leave as a result of pregnancy-related issues. And after giving birth to her baby, the employee was laid off and had a potential promotion taken away from her.

Pregnancy discrimination often includes demoting or firing workers who are pregnant. Employers don't state that a worker's pregnancy is the reason for the worker being demoted or let go. Instead, employers grasp at other excuses to use to try to justify their unlawful actions.

For example, the woman who is suing the OWN network claims that prior to becoming pregnant, the employee had received a great performance review and was even told that she would be a good candidate for the vice president position at the network. But when the employee became pregnant and took a medical leave during her pregnancy, everything changed. After coming back from her medical leave, the pregnant employee discovered that a temporary worker had been hired to perform her duties. Over time, the employee's duties were gradually passed on to the temporary worker.

The employee went on maternity leave in February 2012 when she had her baby. But one month after her baby was born, the woman learned that she was being laid off from the network. She was told to apply for the vice president position, but she did not get the promotion because her boss had given her a poor performance review. The woman believes that her boss retaliated against her for being pregnant and having a child by not being truthful about her performance in the review, and as a result, she did not get the promotion and was terminated.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, "Oprah's OWN hit with sex discrimination lawsuit," Matthew Belloni, Feb. 1, 2013

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