The search for a host to take over “Jeopardy!” hosting duties from the late Alex Trebek continues. The show’s executive producer, Mike Richards, was briefly tapped for the gig, but quickly turned it down after reports that he discriminated against pregnant employees at “The Price Is Right” surfaced. Pregnancy discrimination is illegal in California, where both game shows are filmed. The Rankin Law Firm is proud to have helped several women seek justice after suffering pregnancy discrimination.
Producer’s Job In Jeopardy Because Of Pregnancy Discrimination Claims
Almost as soon as it was announced that producer Mike Richards was being promoted to host, details emerged about his time working at “The Price Is Right” that made people question the choice. While he was at TPIR, Richards was named in several lawsuits alleging pregnancy discrimination.
While some of the suits were dismissed, or settled, the suit filed by model Brandi Cochran went to trial. According to The Hollywood Reporter:
Cochran was a model on the show, but after taking time off for her pregnancy, she wasn’t invited to rejoin Price Is Right. She claimed being the victim of pregnancy discrimination.
Richards, who had taken on producing responsibilities at Price Is Right in 2008, attempted a more active role for models on the TV game show. Unlike when Bob Barker fronted the game show, Richards wanted the models to interact with new host Drew Carey and the show’s contestants. Richards even envisioned having microphones on the models so that audiences could hear them speak.
But as a California appeals court would later note, there existed some evidence that Richards harbored pregnancy-based animus. In particular, there was a holiday party in 2008 when he bemoaned the effect of Cochran’s pregnancy on staffing. “Go figure, I fire five models, what are the odds one of the ones that I keep gets pregnant?”
Cochran said she originally kept her pregnancy secret because she didn’t want to be fired. Later, she did tell others that she was pregnant with twins. When Cochran did so, she testified, Richards “put his head in his hands.” The next day, Richards allegedly stormed up to her and said, “Twins? Are you kidding? Are you serious?”
Richards defended not rehiring Cochran (who had a miscarriage with one of the twins and pointed to the stress she endured) because of the show’s evolving format. At trial, he testified the show was relying upon fewer models and while Cochran was a “good model,” she “would not take us to great.”
A jury awarded Cochran $8.5 million, but that verdict was overturned on appeal and the case then settled for an undisclosed amount.
Richards denies Cochran’s lawsuit, or the other suits that named him as a defendant, reflect his true character.
What Is Pregnancy Discrimination?
Because of Richards, pregnancy discrimination has been in the news. However, many people still don’t understand what it is.
At its core, pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. It occurs when a female employee or job applicant receives unfair treatment due to pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or a related medical condition.
At The Rankin Law Firm, we have seen California employers discriminate against pregnancy women in many ways, including:
- Refusing to hire a pregnant woman or a woman who may become pregnant;
- Firing or demoting a pregnant worker;
- Reassigning a pregnant worker’s job duties;
- Failing to allow a pregnant woman to take disability leave;
- Giving unfavorable performance reviews to a pregnant woman with a good track record; and
- Eliminating a position when a worker returns from leave.
We have helped many pregnant women seek compensation for this discrimination, and we are prepared to help you.
The Road To Your Employment Rights Starts Here
Nobody should be treated poorly while they are working hard to bring a new life into this world. And if that is the reason why they are being treated poorly, they should not hesitate to consult an experienced employment law attorney and seek justice. If you believe you have been discriminated against for your reproductive choices, please contact The Rankin Law Firm for a free case evaluation.