Former Price is Right Model Wins $8.5 Million Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit

A former "The Price is Right" model was awarded a total of over $8.5 million for being discriminated against on the show after returning from pregnancy leave, a Los Angeles jury determined. More than $7.7 million of that was for punitive damages, to punish the defendants for their discriminatory misconduct.

The judgment came one day after the jury determined the game show's producers discriminated against Brandi Cochran and awarded her nearly $777,000 in actual damages.

Ms. Cochran, 41, said she was rejected when she tried to return to work in early 2010 after taking maternity leave. The jury agreed and determined that FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions owed her more than $8.5 million in all.

Ms. Cochran responded to the jury award by saying "I'm humbled. I'm shocked." "I'm happy that justice was served today not only for women in the entertainment industry, but women in the workplace."

FremantleMedia said it was standing by its previous statement, which said it expected to be "fully vindicated" after an appeal. It is unclear what the grounds for appeal will be, but time will tell.

FremantleMedia stated "We believe the verdict in this case was the result of a flawed process in which the court, among other things, refused to allow the jury to hear and consider that 40% of our models have been pregnant," and other "important" evidence.

In their defense, producers said they were satisfied with the five models working on the show at the time Ms. Cochran sought to return.

Several other former models have sued the series and its longtime host, Bob Barker, who retired in 2007. Mr. Barker no longer hosts the show.

Under California law, when a female employee returns from maternity leave, typically the employer is supposed to give that woman her job back or offer her a comparable position, absent some exceptional circumstance.

By: Arthur Navarette, Esq.
November 25, 2012