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Does Oprah Discriminate??

| Filed under: Legal MattersOprah Winfrey


That's what a former employee of Oprah Winfrey's new network OWN is claiming.

A former assistant is suing the talk show host's company, claiming that she worked in "a hostile work environment" because she suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.

Catherine Dunn says that when she worked as an assistant at OWN in August 2008, she was forced to take a stress leave, as well as a leave of absence when "her MS symptoms were exacerbated because of the workplace stress."

She claims that when she went on the forced stress leave, she was then replaced by a "non-disabled and younger employee." So, now she is suing for wrongful termination and seeks unspecified damages.

Hmm, yet another lawsuit for Oprah. Is the former employee telling the truth or just trying to cash in? What do U think?

[Image via AP Images.]

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31 comments to “Does Oprah Discriminate??”

  1. 1

    behind closed doors I think this woman is a raving lunatic………

  2. 2

    Last week's news.
    How can it take so long to cut and paste?

  3. 3

    Y'know, i lost my interest in miss Oprah a long time ago already, i've heard her make racist comments, i think she's just full of herself!

  4. 4


  5. 5


  6. 6

    Um…if your ms (or any health issues) that you have gets so bad that it makes it hard to do your work then you should be fired because you cannot do the job properly. Its not discrimination is efficient. I mean, they hired a younger person probably because they were more physically up to the challenge and could handle it better…..and they hired a non-disabled person because most people AREN'T disabled, what does this woman expect an ad asking for a disabled employee? lol. no. I'm sure even if she wasnt forced to go on leave she would have been terminated for not being able to complete the job anyways. this is just a scam.

  7. 7

    Oh, Lord, I thought she would be suing because O's ratio of black to white employees is OFF THE CHART!!!!!

  8. 8

    Re: paniikd – There is such a thing as the Americans with Disabilities Act. Depending on how many people are employed, people are entitled to reasonable accomodation. That being said, if this woman thought working for Oprah would be a walk in the park, she's nuts.

  9. 9

    This woman was delusional taking the job. TV/broadcasting/publishing is notoriously stressful, and she's got a disease that's exacerbated by stress. So now she's blaming Oprah. I see a cash register ka-chinging.

  10. 10

    old news. Plus, Oprah hates white people. duh.

  11. 11

    google Zach Anner, she totally fucked him out of winning her contest because he was disabled and placed some chick that is a carbon copy of her in as the winner.

  12. 12

    Re: paniikd – So people with disabilities should be fired when they are having problems? You are a f*cking MORON. Lets see how you feel when it is you or one of your family or friends. DIVE ON A SPIKE ALREADY Douchebag!

  13. 13

    The Americans With Disabilities Act is in place so that people with disabilities cannot be discriminated against in the workplace. I am an American with a disability exacerbated by stress, and I am also a journalist. While it is difficult at times, working on a deadline etc… it is also ten times better than my previous job- which I had to quit because of stress in the workplace. There are different kinds of stress people, and what Ms. Dunn is referring to is most commonly called a "flare." Most stress flares can go away with rest. SO if she took leave to regain health, and was fully expecting to come back to work and do her job, and she was fired while she was gone on sick leave (which OWN would have already agreed to in her contract due to her disability and ADA), then she has cause for a discrimination claim. If OWN violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by making her workplace hostile, then she can sue. What's sad is that in this country, they have to hire you if you have a disability, but they can make it difficult enough so that you are forced to quit. Good for her for standing up for herself.

  14. 14

    I feel for the woman with MS, but if you have ever had to work with someone who couldn't perform because of an illness or handicap and the company was afraid to let them go because of getting sued you'd be pissed too because that person continues to get paid and you have to do their job. If she had an MS exacerbation she shouldn't have been working and making life hard for other people.

  15. 15

    Ever since Oprah supported a black man for president and decided to launch her own network, people have been trying to smear her or whatever organization she's involved with. Society gets threatened when a black or a woman gets too much money and power. They smeared Martha Stewart (insider trading), they sued Michael Jackson over 1000 times. I love Oprah so much I can't stand it. Don't let the smear machine get you down girl. She's a law suit target because she's a black woman who dares to have real money and real power and I love her for it.

  16. 16

    If you CAN'T do your job then you shouldn't have it, MS is a disease I get that but if its a stressful job that enhances issues with your help then you shouldn't be doing it!!! this is called common sense, go be a Walmart greater geez

  17. 17

    Re: Betch84 – where does it read this lady is white?

  18. 18

    I hate it when people sue places due to having some sort of disability. When they need to wake up and realise that theres tons of diseases and disabilities that will cause you to perform bad at lots of things..LIKE YOUR DAMN JOB.

  19. 19

    cashing in

  20. Dusss says – reply to this


    Okay… let's find a replacement… There are more healthy employees so there's a bigger chance to hirer a health one.
    Second… younger people are more often working temporary jobs.

    And you know what the second most common mental disease is in MS patients? (after depression) BORDERLINE!
    This woman sounds crrrrrazyyyy!!

  21. 21

    wow, most of you are complete airheads. How can you form an opinion from a two paragraph fluff piece? I hope you never serve on a jury. Stick to shopping and going to the beach.

  22. 22

    Re: education #15 WAIT A MINUTE … MARTHA STEWART IS BLACK???

  23. 23

    This employee is just trying to cash in! Oprah is a very wealthy woman, people will do just anything to get just a bit of it, even lie! Yes, people do lie to get money!

  24. 24

    It's well known that she had the votes rigged on her competition for a new show on her network so that a contestant with MS, Zach Anner, wouldn't win.

  25. 25

    That's just retarded. Of course her replacement wouldn't have the same disabilities — that's just statistically extremely unlikely. Most people who work are able-bodied. Can you imagine? "Hello human resources? Yes, one of our workers with MS is out on leave. Can you hire a temp in the meantime? Thanks. Oh, by the way, can you make sure she has a disability that is equal to or worse than MS? Awesome, thanks." That in itself would be discriminatory against the able-bodied workers hoping for a job.

  26. 26

    Re: Secret Message – 54 million people and 19 percent of the United States population is disabled. I know, let's re-open the lepper colonies!!!!!! No we're better than that, just give them all jobs at Walmart . . . . or no, let's just put them all on welfare. Heaven forbid we should give them the same dignity and support that we would give, say, someone like you.

    You know, you should have a child with a disability and have to think about: "What will become of them when I can no longer support and advocate for them? Will they be left to "perfect" people like you who are more than capable, but just not willing?"

    And NO, I wouldn't be pissed at someone who's doing all she can to live life to her fullest potential. (I happen to know she held this position for 20 years and was damn GOOD) And NO, it wouldn't make life hard for me, it would give me pause to thank my lucky stars.

  27. @v@ says – reply to this


    Re: Fashion_Journalista – She wasn't discriminated against in the workplace. She wasn't IN the workplace. What is Oprah supposed to do, stick her thumb in her mouth and blow while waiting for this woman to make a comeback? Reality can bite. She could have cited the Act and asked Oprah if they could come up with an alternate position within her capability.

  28. 28

    Oprah is very generous with employees. She provides a free health club for them and takes them on expensive cruises and trips. This woman is just trying to make money off her illness.

  29. 29

    Re: education – That's true. Haters be hatin'.

  30. 30

    Since when do you have to hire your replacement with another disable person?? Oprah did nothing wrong in my opinion. When an employee takes time off from work, the one thing on the employer or HR mind is…. is my employee ever going to come back to work? If so, is she going to full fill her job as when I first hired her? It is not Oprah fault she has MS and remember she hired her in the first place, so how could she be discriminative?

  31. 31

    Umm..I have MS and had to take a leave twice so far. It's the disease not the actual stress that brings on the flare ups. She is just trying to get $$$. Can't stand when someone exploits a disease such as MS or any other disease.