Fans of Oprah Winfrey may have heard the news of a recent lawsuit filed against the talk show diva’s OWN network. The employment discrimination suit was filed in California by a former employee of OWN, and alleges gender and pregnancy discrimination. Initial reports suggest that at least one employee was punished for making the choice to have a child.

The employee who filed the suit claims that she came to work for OWN as a senior director over scheduling and acquisitions in 2010. She claims to have received positive performance reviews and was told that she was progressing toward becoming a vice president up until she had to go on medical leave during her pregnancy. Once she took that leave, her position within the network became unstable.

After that point, the employee claims that her work duties were taken away and given to another employee, and that upon her return to work she was excluded from key meetings. While she was encouraged to apply for a vice president position, she was later told that she did not qualify. That decision, she asserts, was made based on a fabricated performance review which gave the impression that she did not hold sufficient seniority for the higher position.

As this suit moves forward, additional details may come to light regarding the manner in which female employees are treated at OWN. Employment discrimination is a serious issue, and despite having achieved significant advancements over recent decades, women still face gender discrimination within the workplace. Any California employee who feels that they have been mistreated due to their gender, or as a result of pregnancy, should take steps toward determining their legal rights in the matter.

Source: ZeeNews.com, “Oprah’s network slapped with sex discrimination lawsuit,” Feb. 3, 2013