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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

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46.

His Prince Michael    

Personal experience, confirms: The foulest
oppressor, is the same who has screamed
"Oppression!", the loudest and longest.
Case, CLOSED.

1478 days ago
47.

His Prince Michael    

Without question, I've witnessed first-hand:
Often, there is not more foul oppressor, then
the one who has screamed "Oppression!", the loudest. Case, CLOSED.

1478 days ago
48.

MYTWOCENTS    

I don't have a problem with it at all. Yeah, sue her. She probably caused the woman's stress in the first place anyway. I have heard for years that Oprah is a beast to work for and that you basically have no life outside of your job. She has her employees sign these confidentiality agreements so they cannot disclose anything about what she is really like. She is definitely not who you people that WQRSHIP HER think she is. She will settle out of court anyway because she does not need the bad press. In the meantime the employee will get some money to tide her over until she is able to get back to work. Corporate America does this to people all day long and you should not be defending them. People are losing their jobs in record numbers and losing everything they have worked for and you guys are on here defending employers now. I wish there was a law that states that you cannot just FIRE SOMEONE just because you feel like it or don't like them, but that is what is going on in America right now. Racial discrimination also is very real in the black community and we don't play the race card, it is constantly being PLAYED ON US, especially since OBAMA took office. This is all a bunch of BS.

1478 days ago
49.

Kristan    

Actually, if you read the line in the article again the person did used exacerbated....!

1478 days ago
50.

cocoapuff    

Oprah loves all people so this lawsuit is meritless.

1478 days ago
51.

bridget    

I've heard its a hostile work environment for everyone except for senior management.

1478 days ago
52.

mysteria333    

oprah is very wealkthy and very famous. therefore she is a target for people wanting to find a good reason to relieve her of some of that money. and you;d better believe it wont be the last time...now maybe she'll finally understand how michael felt ! ! ! ! because i got the very distinct impression she believed the exstortionist and not michael. i'am over 60 i've watched and studied michael all my life and i'm positive he was completely innocent of all accusations. you really find out who your friends...really are...when the stuff hits the fan ! ! ! in any event i will pray that everything works out spiritually and honestly for all parties concerned.

1478 days ago
53.

kathy40    

I used to like OPRAh until she embarassed MJ in 1993 asking him "if he was a virgin", I'll never forgive her for that. She never asked HER FRIEND Tom Cruise if he WAS one. People used to say things about HIM being gay, hence the divorce from Nicole Kidman. Also the fact that she DID NOT believe MJ had vitiligo. It was clear because she kept backing him up in a corner, asking him if he was bleaching his skin, even saying that she knew of people doing this IF THEY HAD TONS of BLEACHING CREAM. That was very mean of her and it was her doing that made THE PUBLIC not believe him either, I'm sure. Oprah is on a PEDESTAL, RICH and POWERFUL and her OPINION is very much valued by most people. They refuse to see her "flaws", like the fact that she is ONLY interested in RATINGS and that her MJ show was watched "ALL OVER THE WORLD" and about the WAY SHE LOOKS on her shows. I know she has done a LOT OF GOOD, but with all that money she can afford it. What I miss in OPRAH is HUMILITY, HUMBLENESS, she BRAGS about what she does. Michael JACKSON never did that, he was not IMAGEBUILDING like you see all these STARS do nowadays. And besides MJ was there BEFORE Oprah. What made me turn against her completely was her lack of sympathy when for HIS FAMILY when MJ passed, especially her reaction that she was NOT Michael's friend and that's why she did not attend his memorial or funeral. That was a BIG cop out. Shortly after MJ's funeral she did her socalled REMEMBERING MICHAEL JACKSON episode (again for the ratings) and THEN she said she "could have been friends with him because he was so likeable". She's just a twofaced hypoctite, MJ was good for her RATINGS in 1993, and it was only after this interview that she got the really BIG NAMES in her show. I'm not a vindictive person but I cannot feel sorry for Oprah when people try to defame her. Now she knows how it feels!!

I wonder when she will come out of the CLOSET!! Why don't someone ask her THIS, she is always minding other people's business!

1477 days ago
54.

Barbie    

#44 Laquita Humphrey ---- Who on earth gave you that explanation as the cause of MS ? Or did you just make it up ? What would be worse is if a neurologist gave you that explanation because that would be mean you have an incompetent doctor who needs to go back to medical school !

No one know's the cause of MS therefore it remains incurable ! I probably know more about MS because I have it, I've done the research, I've read everything I could get my hands on to understand it, my doctor's aren't doing that. They know the newest treatments, they know how to diagnose it, but they don't live with it and they don't pick up every single piece of literature on it ! And in all my research NEVER have your reason's been mentioned. Don't put out false information without backing it up with some facts ! Especially if someone has never had those trauma's but yet still get's MS !

1477 days ago
55.

Barbie    

#50 MYTWOCENTS ----- Are you black ? I'm not quite sure from reading what you wrote. I'm wondering only because of your last comment about playing the race card, but it's blacks that are being played, especially since Obama became President !

I wish you had elaborated on what you meant by that because it is my understanding that Obama got the black vote. He caught the country by surprise, he was an unknown, inexperienced political figure who was elected because black people who never felt the need to get involved with politic's suddenly found an interest based on the color of his skin. Record numbers of people signed up for voting in that election year. Even those who were very involved in politic's and had voted all their lives got caught up in the Obama "Change" campaign even though no one had even heard of him prior to his throwing his hat in the ring ! Oprah's endorsement of him was a powerful play in the game, but she too knew little to nothing about him except that he was black !

And to the person claiming that she lost all respect for Oprah after the 93 interview with Michael Jackson. Her questions might have been off base, yes, but you have to remember he had just paid off a kid for $20 million dollars so that he wouldn't file charges against him or sue him civil courts. She hates child abuser's, pedophiles, as she was a victim herself, she didn't get that interview for ratings, she wanted to box him into a corner. He could have gotten up at any time and left, no one held him there by force !

She understood why she wanted to interview him, and MJ didn't know, he thought she would be on his side. I guess he never watched her show because that has always been her biggest thing, her hatred for abusers !

This lady with the MS is just trying to extort money from Oprah now because her future looks grim, facing MS, and not having a way other than social security which pays nothing thanks to Obama and his healthcare plan ! She's wrong in suing Oprah because she can't face the truth about herself. She can't work anymore, or under stressful conditions. Anyone with MS becomes well aware of that early on after their diagnosis ! JMO

1477 days ago
56.

Kai    

I thought,if the illness came about while working that the employer is suppose to modify to adapt worker or assist in disability process. Doesn't sound like they did either,she should be compensated she needs her medical benefits.
I think the stupidest comment on here wa,they didn't give her MS.
Are you serious?
No one wants an incurable disease.Cancer,lupus, and MS are not asked for.

1477 days ago
57.

Sammy    

God forbid if Oprah was a white woman and the employee was black..She would not have to say anything about MS. Just I was discriminated because I am black. We have got to stop all of this nonsense sueing...It will be the demise of our country.

1477 days ago
58.

Michelle    

She was fired for poor performance I am sure, why hire her only to fire her?

1477 days ago
59.

netrek    

Hugh Jass - oh please! This is 2010 not 1810 - being black doesn't mean you are automatically a victim of discrimination! Stop listening to delusional self-serving morons like Jesse Jackson. In my life I've seen black people discriminate AGAINST white people far far more often than I've seen the reverse.

1477 days ago
60.

kathy40    

@Barbie. In your quest to defend Oprah you get your "facts" mixed up. The Oprah interview was February 1993, BEFORE MJ SETTLED the CIVIL LAW SUIT the Chandlers so conveniently filed FIRST. The Chandler accusations started in November 1993. Oprah could have at least given MJ the benefit of the doubt instead of jumping to conclusions. She is always talking about INTEGRITY, but after MJ was found INNOCENT by a jury of 12, she did not budge. And you are wrong again about MJ PAYING OFF the Chandlers, he settled THE CIVIL LAW SUIT. The investigation for the actual TRIAL went on, they stripped MJ to the BUTT and when they did not get a COMPLETE match, they chickened and Jordy refused (or his father didn't want him) to testify against MJ in a trial, because they KNEW they had no ground to stand on if they went on. Instead, the Chandlers took the money and ran to the EAST COAST. All EVAN Chandler wanted was MONEY, he tried to extort Michael first, he didn't get anything. That's why he filed the CIVIL SUIT first, once he had the money there was no need for his son to go to court. No ROCKET Science needed here, so please get you facts right before you post BS. It's all do***ented.

Maybe you didn't know but FATHER and SON Chandler were the script writers of Mel Gibson's "Robin Hood: Men in tights". They sure as hell scripted this whole thing too!!

1477 days ago
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