Price is Right Model ‘Comes on Down’ with Lawsuit

It’s not all fun and games on the set of game show The Price is Right. A former model on the show, Brandi Cochran, filed a suit in Superior Court in Los Angeles on March 1 claiming she was harassed and discriminated against for being pregnant, according to a report in The Wrap, an entertainment news website.

Cochran was a model on the show from July 2002 through late February 2010 when she was fired. She is suing CBS and the show’s producer Freemantle Media claiming discrimination based on pregnancy, retaliation for complaining about discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, breach of contract, privacy violations, and fraud.

The report in The Wrap quotes the lawsuit as saying that producers “discriminated against, harassed, and retaliated against Cochran, including making remarks about her pregnancy, her appearance, her weight, and her eating habits.”

Cochran also claims she witnessed the harassment of two other models because they also became pregnant.

The latest suit isn’t the first by one of the show’s models. Dian Parkinson, who left the show in 1993, filed suit claiming sexual harassment by former host Bob Barker. She withdrew the suit in 1995. Barker later sued another model, Holly Hallstrom, for slander and libel, claiming she said she was fired for not taking Barker’s side in the dispute with Parkinson. She countersued claiming wrongful termination. Reports claimed she actually was terminated because she gained weight because of medical treatments. She ended up winning a large settlement. Two other models also won out-of-court settlements after claiming wrongful termination, according to The Wrap.

Of course, it’s not just game show producers that find themselves defending against pregnancy discrimination suits. A report released in October 2008 from the National Partnership for Women & Families said working women in the United States filed 65 percent more complaints of pregnancy discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in 2007 than they filed in 1992. The report coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, enacted on October 31, 1978.

The study found that race and ethnicity appeared to be important factors in the rise of pregnancy discrimination complaints. From fiscal year 1996 to fiscal year 2005, claims filed by women of color jumped 76 percent, while claims overall increased by 25 percent.

More than half the claims filed with the EEOC during the 1996-2005 period (53 percent) were filed in service, retail trade and the financial services, insurance, and real estate industries.