Oprah’s OWN Network Denies Discriminating & Harassing Employee
theJasmineBRAND.com exclusively reports, Oprah Winfrey’s network is demanding the legal battle filed by a current employee be thrown out – in which the woman accuses her bosses of discrimination & harassment in the workplace. In fact, they claim to have went above and beyond for the employee, even setting up a private locked room with a comfortable chair for her to pump her breast-milk.
Here’s the latest: On July 28th, Oprah’s network headed back to court demanding the entire case be thrown out before a trial. OWN explains Oprah Winfrey Network is named for, and inspired by, its iconic leader Oprah Winfrey – whose heart and creative instincts inform the brand – and the magnetism of the channel. They explain Ms. Winfrey provides leadership in programming and attracts superstar talent in prime-time and her programming strives for depth with edge, emphasizes connections of the heart and mind, and the belief in endless possibility, which is also reflective of OWN’s culture in which its employees take pride
They point out Rebecca Taylor is a current OWN employee and has been for over six years. OWN says each of her claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation and failure to promote did not occur.
According to the docs, Taylor worked with three to four woman closely at OWN, often hanging out together and discussing a number of personal issues including child rearing, relationship dynamics, breastfeeding and their menstrual cycles.
OWN says Nakisha Gowan, director at the network, went above and beyond for Taylor during her pregnancy, sending out invitations for her baby shower, never questioned her tardiness while she was experiencing “all day” sickness. They also point out they even provided her with a locked, private room for lactation with a comfortable chair, a table for her computer and a small refrigerator for storing her breast milk during the workday.
The docs explain Taylor did not suffer any adverse employment action whatsoever, saying her boss gave her excellent performance reviews, she was promoted and received raises, and is currently working for OWN — with an annual salary of $62,000 which is nearly a $10k raise from her previous pay. OWN is demanding the entire lawsuit be thrown out before it even goes to trial, arguing Taylor has no case against them.
Here’s the backstory: Last Year, Rebecca Taylor sued Oprah’s Own Network accusing the company of discrimination, harassment, failure to promote and retaliation. Taylor explained she began working for Oprah’s network back in 2010. Her supervisor, Nakisha Gowan, was a director at OWN.
The ex-employee said she had no problems until she became pregnant in 2013. She accused Gowan of continuing harassing and embarrassing her at the office. She said she would often pump breast milk at work after her infant’s birth. Taylor explained an incident where Gowan approached her in a meeting and pretended to squeeze her breasts and then put her head on top of them in front of other employees. Taylor said she was mortified and humiliated by her supervisor’s actions.
Taylor described another situation where Gowan brought up “tent pole events” which the former employee says was her way of talking about a man with an erection. She sued demanding damages for the hostile work environment & harassment she endured while at OWN.
Oprah’s network responded, denying that Taylor was ever injured or suffered damages due to any action by them. They place the blame solely on her for any damages saying they were caused by her own acts, conducts or omissions.
Further, they pointed out OWN provides reasonable care to prevent discriminatory, retaliatory and harassing behavior at the company by having anti-discrimination and anti-harassment polices which forbade such behavior and accused Taylor of not taking advantage of any preventative or corrective opportunities they provided to their employees. The company demanded the ex-employee’s lawsuit be thrown out.