A former "The Price is Right" model known as one of the "Barker Beauties," was awarded nearly $770,000 in compensatory damages as well as $7.7 Million in punitive damages in her wrongful termination case.
Brandi Cochran, known for her ability to charm an audience while displaying game show prizes, brought the suit against the show's producers in 2010. Ms. Cochran claimed that she was fired after attempting to return from maternity leave. Prior to being let go, she had worked for The Price Is Right Productions for seven years as one of previous host Bob Barker and current host Drew Carey's leading ladies.
During the defense, it was claimed that rather than discriminating against Ms. Cochran, the company was just simply pleased with the models who were currently working on the show. They claimed that the pregnancy and her maternity leave had nothing to do with the termination of her employment.
Fortunately for Ms. Cochran, the jury saw the case differently, but not without its own difficulties in determining a verdict. After being initially informed that the jury was deadlocked, L.A. Superior Court Judge Kevin Brazile had to replace a few with alternates. On two separate occasions Judge Brazile was required to replace two jurors, and each time the deliberations were forced to start anew. Eventually though, the jury came to a consensus in favor of Ms. Cochran. The defense plans to appeal.
Unfortunately, termination due to maternity leave and other such scenarios are not as rare as society would like to assume. Should you or someone you know somehow become the victim of a wrongful termination, please seek the advice of an employment law attorney to best determine your options.
Source: E online, "Price is Right Model Brandi Cochran Awarded $7.7 Million in Damages in Wrongful-Termination Suit," Nov. 21, 2012