Last week, a California jury awarded a former "The Price Is Right" model more than $7 million in damages after concluding that the show's producers had illegally fired the woman when she became pregnant.
The jury's verdict is certainly a victory for the former model and other women who have been fired under similar conditions in Los Angeles. But the former model's case is also a devastating reminder of the financial and emotional challenges workers face every day throughout the country whenever employers violate their rights in the workplace.
Although "The Price Is Right" model has been awarded $777,000 in compensatory damages and $7.7 million in punitive damages as a result of her employer's violation of anti-discrimination laws, FremantleMedia North America maintains that it did not wrongfully terminate the woman because of her pregnancy. The company is considering appealing the jury's decision.
According to the former model's lawsuit, the woman was subjected to pregnancy discrimination while she worked for the popular game show. The woman had wanted to start a family for quite some time before she finally became pregnant with twins.
The model claims that an executive producer was not supportive when the model found out that she was expecting twins, and she was even harassed on the set because of her pregnancy. The woman's lawsuit stated that she was told that she was "breaking the set" when she started gaining weight during her pregnancy. Producers eventually stopped scheduling the woman to appear on the game show when the model started showing.
Losing work was certainly difficult, but the woman also experienced complications while she was pregnant. She lost one of her babies and the surviving baby spent months in the hospital after birth. After overcoming postpartum depression and after taking time off from modeling during her maternity leave, "The Price Is Right" model called the show to figure out when she could start working again. For months, the show's producers failed to tell her when she could return to work.
The woman has been through a lot after losing a child and her job, but she does have hope that her case will help to protect other pregnant workers from having to lose their incomes and jobs as a result of pregnancy discrimination. "It's worth standing up for something," the former model stated last week.
Source: ABC 7, "'Price Is Right' model wins $7.7M in discrimination, wrongful termination lawsuit," Leslie Miller, Nov. 21, 2012
- Our firm provides counsel to employees and pregnant workers who have had their rights violated by co-workers or employers in the workplace. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Long Beach pregnancy discrimination lawyers page.