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Oprah Co. Sued for MS Discrimination

8/13/2010 9:30 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

A woman who worked for Oprah Winfrey's OWN network claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment ... because she suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.

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According to a lawsuit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court, Catherine Dunn was an assistant at OWN beginning in August 2008. She claims that during her time there, she was "subjected to a hostile work environment" because of her MS.

She claims she was forced to take a stress leave as well of a leave of absence because her MS symptoms were exacerbated because of the workplace stress.

When she was out on leave, Dunn claims she was replaced by "a non-disabled and younger employee."

Dunn is suing for wrongful termination, among other things. She is asking for unspecified damages.

So far ... no comment from Oprah & Co.


81 COMMENTS

No Avatar
31.

Tracy    

I swear she's got something stuck between her two front teeth, and it's waaaaaaaaaaay too small to be her ego.

1427 days ago
32.

sickofit    

I am disabled myself. There is one thing about making sure public buildings are accessible, and disabled people are given a fair shake finding housing to forcing people/businesses to make extreme, expensive changes, losing money to keep someone with different abilities on staff. Everyone has different abilities and areas we are not good at. NASA cannot hire a person with a 70 IQ to process equations of fuel consumption, or a antique crystal seller cannot hire someone who is clumsy. If you are nervous, then you should not work in a high pressure, fast pace position for a new tv network. It is not a matter of a disability, but more a matter of your emotional strength.
If you are disabled, you deserve an even playing field, not extraordinary measures to make up for every flaw you have. Not everyone is suited for every job, no matter if they are in a chair or not.

1427 days ago
33.

R    

Diversity? My ass, bit*h. You are a fake wh*re from the heart inside and out to your weaves, Oprah. I hope she sues Oprah to earn her loss of wages and Oprah thrown in a bad spotlight. We have had enough of her.

1427 days ago
34.

Mr. Dictionary    

"Exasperated." Really? My middle-school kids know the definition. I usually defend your drivel....

1427 days ago
35.

Phreaky    

So ridiculous. Who should she have been replaced with, someone older that also suffered from a disease?
Give me a break.

1427 days ago
36.

Barbie    

#33 sickofit --- your post is on the money. I have MS and I had it for several years before I had to hang-up my career. It wasn't my employer's fault, it wasn't even my fault, it was my illness, my cross to bear, my challenge in life.

I was between a rock and a hard place. I scaled down my career aspirations, I tried part-time, I tried everything to stay in the game. But alias I relented and had to call it quits.

I believe the same as you that you can only do a job that lessens and level's your own playing field.

Personally I think this woman does not have a legitimate claim of discrimination. How long is long enough for an employer to accomadate your illness, sick leave's, and still keep you on the payroll ? I speak from experience only because I know my MS and what I am capable of and it's not the burden of your employer to make that determination ! Period !

1427 days ago
37.

sgm    

Oprah just needs to call it a day and move on! I have not watched her in many years due to her feelings/actions of superiority over others. Her claim to fame is she got a unknown, inexperienced man elected president. Just go away already.

1427 days ago
38.

HumanNature    

FRIVOLOUS LAWSUIT!!!

1427 days ago
39.

Tina    

As someone with MS... I say sue the hell out of those mofo's!!!!

1427 days ago
40.

dabombishere123    

you'd think with all the money she has Oprah would have nice teeth, but no! they are damn ugly.

1427 days ago
41.

travelgirl2010    

Comment #42

I co-sign with you. You would think she could take the time to get cosmetic teeth whitening done. She sure can afford it
I know this is not related to the firing but why not.

Anyway

Yes Oprah does not seem to be as evolved as she portrays.
She does not seem to be the most humanistic person.

1427 days ago
42.

Laquita Humphrey    

to no.26,

Does she "life" with it or did you mean "live" with it?
The fact is EVERYONE has white matter scars on their brain(MS..multiple scars)caused by a number of traumas(car accident, bad relationships,hard childhood....which all include the three different theories of what causes MS...physical blow,mental,and environmental. I think EVERYONE has had 1 or more of these. No one knows why some grows and some don't. you're comment was very nonchalant. As a person who has MS, I do hope YOU NEVER HAVE TO SUFFER WITH IT OR LIVE WITH IT.

1427 days ago
43.

BSweet    

I believe it is the right of any business owner to hire capable employees. If the employee isn't working out, then it is in everyone's best interest for them to find work elsewhere. You don't hire a surgeon to drive a bus. Right? She has the right to make money from owning her company.

1427 days ago
44.

captinjoe    

COOL!!!!! SUE OPRAH THE COW FOR EVERY DIME SHE HAS!!!!!!!!!

1427 days ago
45.

NinaAsUsual    

It doesn't detail what kind of stress she had to endure. I can't pass a right or wrong on Oprah. There's just not enough details bottomline. This story needs more time to develop.

1427 days ago
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