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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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61.

sparkle    

from what i hear its a hostile work environment for everyone over there

1493 days ago
62.

Gsharon 710    

And it is things like this that deducts points from Oprah. More money, more high profile friendships, and less weight has changed this woman who use to care for even the unknowns. Oh well..........

1493 days ago
63.

Dr. McCafferty    

I don't have all of the facts and do not judge anything before I hear both sides of a story - however, if this is true, I feel sorry for Ms. Winfrey for being out of touch with people who are not as fortunate as she - many people struggle and face enormous battles - people should practice sensitivity. This is not about money - it's about compassion. God Bless both of these parties involved.

Son of a person who has MS.

1493 days ago
64.

Dr. McCafferty    

I don't have all of the facts and do not judge anything before I hear both sides of a story - however, if this is true, I feel sorry for Ms. Winfrey for being out of touch with people who are not as fortunate as she - many people struggle and face enormous battles - people should sensitivity. This is not about money - it's about compassion. God Bless both of these parties involved.

Son of a person who has MS.

1493 days ago
65.

ginger    

Oprah is a nasty bytch and she has people fooled. I remember when she tried to get people to sit in on her new world religion. That's good that person is suing her azz. Oprah has more lawsuits and no one knows about them because they keep it quiet. Her and Gail are two bytches that's not to be trusted.

1493 days ago
66.

Michael Anthony    

anyone wanna know what being over worked , under paid, hostile enviorment come and work for Rosss Stores in Philadelphia then you can talk...

1493 days ago
67.

Mitzi    

I don't think you people are understanding the issue - she COULD do the job when hired, obviously, and the harassing work environment made her condition worse. Which isn't something she "made up", if you investigate the facts on MS this happens. And I love the "she needs the money" comments...how do you know? And the "if she couldn't handle the stress" comments as well, harassment isn't stress. Her claim is her illness was exacerbated by harassing conditions - and since we all don't know the complete facts, nor are neurologists, time will tell. But not all people who's illnesses progress are looking for a payout nor need to go on SSI. So should all diabetics go on SSI because their condition flares and they can't reliably make decisions when their blood sugar fluctuates? Use your brains.

1493 days ago
68.

meohmy    

This is a difficult situation for all because I worked with an MS women and she was able to work for many years and it was difficult to watch her symtoms progress we all had to deal with the mood swings and anger I don't think it's something that an employer really wants to have to do but if it endangers the MS persons self or the employees having to deal with the mood swings and outburst and the continual adjustments to the work place environment for the individual can be hard for employer and employees and then the constant falling on the floor and the excuses is very hard to see and my heart goes out to both parties envolved. There is probably a lot of lawsuits with this same MS situation it's just a sickness that hopefully will have a cure soon. I pray for a cure. It's not easy to have to face this illness.

1493 days ago
69.

Andi    

I call BS on the MS excuse. Sounds like somebody got fired for always calling in sick and now they want money because they are lazy. So she has MS, big effing deal. People like this make me sick. They ABUSE their "disability".

1493 days ago
70.

Andi    

ALSO, why are people placing blame on Oprah? Do you actually think SHE had anything to do with this? lol. Uhm, no. She is probably too busy to worry about office BS like this. Get a grip you morons. I love how people are acting like Oprah personally showed up and was like "Oh you have MS? You're fired". Most likely she had no say in the decision and the lawsuit will be just as much of a shock to her as it is to everyone else. Jesus Christ, some of you people seriously look stupid.

1493 days ago
71.

MJ215062009    

To Kathy40!

You know I just came on here to comment on exactly the same thing you said.

Every time I hear about Oprah it makes me sick for knowing that it was the same said interview with Michael Jackson that put her on the road to become the richest woman in the world!! How sad is that! Every time I watch that interview it makes me cringe how she twisted and turned everything, how dis-respectful he was to the point of being rude, how accommodating Michael Jackson was to give her and only her the chance of a lifetime to get that interview, she was not much better than that vile **** Bashir, but then to turn around and conduct and interview with frigging Presley brat and mum and how they laughed and belittled him after the marriage breakup just took my breath away, than the disgusting comment she made after MJ died on Access America,if I could at the time I would have jumped in that TV and cuffed her ugly teeth out and last but not least the ridiculous Tribute Show she put on after a month of his death, still not remembering him for what he was, what he portrait, how many charities he helped, the fake ass accusations, the thanks to him to get her where she is today. I have no respect for that two faced BITCH and nothing she does comes from the heart cause she ain't got none, it is ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! Go to Hell Oprah that is where you belong!

1492 days ago
72.

gina    

Can't stand her! , she has made it clear she hates white people. why she is even watched is beyond me. I boycoted her a long time ago.

1492 days ago
73.

mary    

To All you haters I think I will go watch Oprah

1492 days ago
74.

Acura    

The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people that have disabilities so that they can work and not be a charge to society. I have some disabling medical conditions, Lupus SLE, Fibromyalgia and Migraines that flare when I am stressed. I work with kids so I am pretty much always stressed. Even doctors have told me to get another job, not happening, they aren't falling off trees as you can see so I am going to keep on working until I can't anymore but it isn't going to be easy. Thank goodness there are laws that protect us so that employers can't just fire a person for being disabled. It's not my fault that I have these medical problems and there isn't anything I can do about any of them but live and deal day by day with what I got.

1492 days ago
75.

meohmy    

I hope this will help people understand the seriousness of this MS disease it is more prevalent now and I don't think that attacking Oprah helps at all she is just one of many companies that have to deal with this epidemic illness. I worked with an MS women and it was the same situation where she was having outburst of anger and wanting to be accommodated on daily activities and she was. The stress was not from the work but from her illness and the changing of the environment to make it more comfortable for her to work. This disease effects the brain cells and it effects the persons thinking and emotions and physical abilities, I can imagine that oprah has done the right things in helping this employee but it's just a difficult situation to accept. There is law procetures that need to be followed to hire another person so this is what will have to be dealt with as far as the lawsuit goes. I hope a cure for this disease will be found soon.

1492 days ago
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