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Pregnancy Discrimination and Tylo Case

January 04, 1998

Re "Sound-Bite Lawyering Trivializes Justice," Commentary, Dec. 26: I was appalled to read Arianna Huffington's mean-spirited article. Her remarks concerning Gloria Allred are wrong and factually incorrect. Whether Allred is arguing in court, which she has personally done successfully in many cases, or whether I am arguing or one of our other lawyers is makes absolutely no difference. Our firm has always worked as a successful team.

Huffington is also mistaken as to the facts pertaining to Hunter Tylo and her $5-million jury verdict.

We do not believe that justice is "trivialized" when women's rights are vindicated against big corporations. It is our legal system's finest hour when the law protects working mothers from wealthy employers who violate their rights. Huffington can huff and she can puff but she will never be able to take away the fact that a jury of 12 citizens unanimously found that Spelling Entertainment Group violated the law against pregnancy discrimination.

NATHAN GOLDBERG

Allred, Maroko & Goldberg

Los Angeles

* I am an actress, but had I been on the jury, I would not have awarded Tylo one red cent. Pregnancy is discriminatory in and of itself, especially if you're an actress because of its appearance limitations. Spelling Entertainment was not in the market to cast the role of a pregnant woman and, as far as they knew, they did not. After accepting the role, Tylo informed her employer that she would not be able to live up to the physical demands of the role and they opted to let her go. Why? She no longer fit the role requirements.

This is not discrimination. This is part and parcel of pursuing work as an actor. As well as being good actors, we must look the part.

JILL HUGHES

North Hollywood

* The Times' Dec. 24 editorial was simply wrong about employment law. Federal and state law prohibit employers from discriminating against women on the basis of pregnancy. When employers accommodate the schedules and health needs of employees, they must grant pregnant employees the same accommodation.

The Times is wrong in saying that the Tylo case is a matter of contract law. Neither federal nor state law permits contracts to justify discrimination that otherwise would be impermissible.

At bottom, The Times' view is that there should be a Hollywood exception to the employment discrimination laws. Women performers should no more be forced to choose between a successful career and a family than should any other member of our society.

CATHERINE FISK

Loyola Law School

ERWIN CHEMERINSKY

USC Law School

Los Angeles

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