OWN’s former senior director of Scheduling and Acquisitions today sued the Oprah Winfrey founded network for sex and disability discrimination. In her complaint (read it here) for unspecified but wide ranging damages, Carolyn Hommel is also claiming the company intentionally didn’t pay her out vacation time and overlooked her for an expected promotion to VP at the company because of her pregnancy. In seeking a jury trial, the plaintiff alleges that she suffered from “acts of oppression, fraud, or malice” from defendants OWN and Michael Scott Garner, the network’s SVP of Planning, Scheduling and Acquisitions. “Hommel has suffered and will continue to suffer damages in terms of lost wages, lost bonuses, lost benefits, and other pecuniary loss according to proof Hommel has also suffered and will continue to suffer anxiety, worry, embarrassment, humiliation, mental anguish, and severe emotional distress,” says the 19-page suit filed in LA Superior Court Friday. While off on a doctor’s ordered medical leave related to her pregnancy Hommel was let go from OWN in March 2012 in a restructuring. She claims at the time she was encouraged to apply for a new VP position being added to her former department but she never got the job. Instead the position went to Whitney Holland, the contract employee brought in to cover for her during her pregnancy and who she feels took over her place at OWN. “Hommel was qualified for the vice president position, but Defendants hired a non-pregnant individual who did not suffer from medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth,” says the complaint. The plaintiff is seeking general and special damages, punitive and liquidated damages, legal fees and interest as well as statutory and civil penalties and “further relief as the Court deems just and proper.” Hommel is represented by Michael Bononi and Christy Granieri of LA firm Bononi Law Group.
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