A former Miss USA has won big in another venue — a court of law.
Model Brandi Cochran sued the producers of The Price Is Right game show for failing to reinstate her on the program after going on maternity leave in 2010, and the jury today ruled in her favor.
Cochran received a $777,000 award against producers FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions from the jury, but could take home even more compensation if the jury decides to up the ante with punitive damages. An award of punitive damages — above and beyond actual out-of-pocket damages — is generally meant to punish the defendant for alleged bad acts and discourage similar misconduct by others.
The former Brandi Sherwood was crowned Miss USA in 1997.
According to AP, “The Superior Court jury determined her pregnancy was the reason she wasn’t rehired.”
FreeMantle Media said it plans to file an appeal in the Brandi Cochran discrimination after which it expects to be fully vindicated of the charges brought by Cochran. At trial, the show claimed it was “satisfied with the five models working on the show at the time Cochran sought to return.”
TMZ posted a further response from the company:
“A rep for the production company behind TPIR calls the verdict ‘the result of a flawed process’ — claiming the court ‘refused to allow the jury to hear and consider that 40% of our models have been pregnant and other important evidence to our defense.’ “
Discrimination against pregnant workers violates federal law as well as the laws of virtually all states. Also, those employees covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (and its state counterparts) have reinstatement rights after taking time off from work in connection with childbirth.