A former employee of Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network is suing the company for unspecified damages over a sex discrimination claim, according to sources. Carolyn Hommel says that while working as the senior director of scheduling and acquisitions at OWN in 2010, she was given a glowing performance review and told she was bound for a vice president position. But when Hommel became pregnant, a temporary employee took her job.
After she returned to work following a medical leave due to the birth of her child, Hommel says the temporary employee eventually took on all the responsibilities that used to be under Hommel's command. She also claims that she was no longer included in meetings that she believes she should have been a part of. In March 2012, a month after her daughter arrived, Hommel learned she was being laid off. The Hollywood Reporter disclosed that although OWN execs suggested she could reapply for the vice president position, she did not get it.
The final blow came with her last performance review, which reportedly "made Hommel's job duties and responsibilities appear less 'senior' and therefore not a candidate for the new vice president position," the lawsuit alleges.
OWN has not yet commented on the lawsuit, which alleges the company is guilty of sex discrimination, disability discrimination, failure to prevent discrimination, retaliation and willful failure to pay wages upon discharge or termination, according to THR.