For­mer E! Ta­lent Ex­ec­u­tive Claims She Was Fired Be­cause of Can­cer Di­ag­no­sis

Kuwait Times - - WEEKENDER -

Ase­nior vice pres­i­dent of ta­lent and cast­ing for E! En­ter­tain­ment Tele­vi­sion claims that she was fired from her job be­cause of her ap­pear­ance while she re­cov­ered from treat­ment for breast can­cer. Blythe Asher filed a law­suit against E! and NBCUniver­sal on Thurs­day, cit­ing age and dis­abil­ity dis­crim­i­na­tion and wrong­ful ter­mi­na­tion, among other claims. In her suit, filed in Los An­ge­les Su­pe­rior Court, she con­tends that that she re­ceived ac­co­lades for her work, along with pro­mo­tions and salary in­creases, un­til she was re­cov­er­ing from can­cer treat­ments.

She con­tends that as she was re­cov­er­ing and was show­ing the phys­i­cal side ef­fects of her treat­ment, she heard com­ments from man­age­ment about her sickly ap­pear­ance. In De­cem­ber of 2015, the law­suit states, E! ex­ec­u­tive Jeff Olde “sug­gested that she wear a pon­cho to cover her arm.” She had been suf­fer­ing com­pli­ca­tions from her treat­ments and was di­ag­nosed with lym­phedema in her arm. “Asher was shocked, of­fended, and em­bar­rassed by the in­sen­si­tive com­ment,” ac­cord­ing to the law­suit.

Dur­ing her re­cov­ery, she con­tin­ued to per­form her du­ties, in­clud­ing public ap­pear­ances, ex­ec­u­tive meet­ings, and meet­ings with celebri­ties. In 2016, Olde gave her a low per­for­mance rating on her an­nual re­view. “Olde’s poor eval­u­a­tion was a sig­nif­i­cant change from Asher’s (pre­can­cer) his­tory of ex­cep­tional re­views,” ac­cord­ing to the suit. “The ba­sis for the low­ered re­view was that “the en­vi­ron­ment is chang­ing.’” Her em­ploy­ment was ter­mi­nated on Feb. 9, with the cause be­ing a “busi­ness de­ci­sion” be­cause of cor­po­rate re­struc­tur­ing, the suit claims. But she was re­placed tem­po­rar­ily by a “younger, less ex­pe­ri­enced, phys­i­cally at­trac­tive, and can­cer-free in­di­vid­ual.” Then, her suit claims, ad­di­tional po­si­tions were cre­ated and her du­ties were given to those em­ploy­ees.

“She was re­leased as a re­sult of the phys­i­cal ef­fects of her on­go­ing bat­tle with breast can­cer,” her suit states. The law­suit seeks an un­spec­i­fied amount in dam­ages. A spokes­woman for E! said that they do not com­ment on per­son­nel mat­ters.

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