Was Paula Lopez discriminated against for being an alcoholic?

September 16, 2016

Paula Lopez

Former news anchor Paula Lopez Ochoa is suing the parent company of her former employers, Central Coast broadcasters KEYT and KCOY, arguing discrimination based on her race, sex and disability led to her firing. Lopez’s disability is alcoholism.

Ochoa was arrested twice in the last three years. She was also the subject of a missing person search.

On Sept. 2, attorney Janean Acevedo Daniels filed the suit on behalf of Ochoa in Santa Barbara County Superior Court. NPG of California is the defendant in the case.

The suit contains 17 complaints, including termination in violation of public policy, sex discrimination, race discrimination, disability discrimination and retaliation. Ochoa claims she was retaliated against for previously filing a discrimination complaint against KEYT.

Ochoa had complained that she was paid less than her white, male counterpart. She also complained about KEYT converting a makeup room into a studio, forcing her and other female employees to apply their makeup in the women’s bathroom.

The lawsuit alleges Ochoa was subjected to discrimination on a continuing basis between 2013 and Sept. 2015, when she was fired. Ochoa’s first arrest occurred in July 2013 and her second arrest took place in Sept. 2015.

During that period, Ochoa was demoted from KEYT to KCOY while her male counterpart maintained his position at KEYT at a higher wage, the suit states. Ochoa was also forced to sign a “Last Chance Agreement” under the threat of termination.

The agreement forced Ochoa to undergo random drug and alcohol testing, which violated her medical privacy rights, according to the lawsuit. Ochoa also alleges the last chance agreement led to her firing.

In July 2013, Ochoa was arrested near her Santa Barbara home on suspicion of driving under the influence. Earlier that year, she was reported missing by her family, which prompted a brief but intense search near her home.

On the evening of Sept. 6, 2015, Ochoa drove her Toyota Prius the wrong way on Highway 101. Sheriff’s deputies then found the Prius parked at a golf course in Goleta. When a sheriff’s deputy and a CHP officer tried to arrest her, she assaulted the officers.

Prosecutors said Ochoa drove with a blood alcohol content above .15 on the evening of her arrest. She refused to submit to a chemical test.

In April 2016, Ochoa pleaded no contest to one count of driving under the influence, two counts of delaying or resisting a peace officer, one count of refusing a chemical test and one count of battery on a peace officer. She faced 120 days in jail.

Lopez is married to retired Santa Barbara County judge Frank Ochoa. Frank Ochoa stepped down from the bench last year.


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gangsta1

Really people ! It is a known fact by many of us,many employers do drug and alcohol testing for the safety and protection of the business,customers,employees.This is not discrimination.If you are not willing to accept this without considering it for that reason, than you just might have something to hide like,oh, I don’t know “maybe, a booze or drug prob”


demiseofslo

Cry me a f—ing river! Delusional alcoholic that can’t rest with the fact that SHE fudged her life up. Realizing you have a problem and taking responsibility for your actions will lead you to peace.


Until then, this lady can go pound sand!


SLOBIRD

“In April 2016, Ochoa pleaded no contest to one count of driving under the influence, two counts of delaying or resisting a peace officer, one count of refusing a chemical test and one count of battery on a peace officer. She faced 120 days in jail.”


She must be drinking again. Really, she was given chances to reclaim and retain her position and she blew it and now goes after NPG of California. She failed, she blew it and like others with addictions they blame everyone and everything but themselves. Must be a happy marriage heading to divorce court.


jonhartz

What a loser. She chooses to get drunk, endangers everyone on the road going the wrong way, fights with the police, then tries to play the victim card. This is one disgusting human being.


Jorge Estrada

Let’s go wine tasting Saturday and Sunday so that we can talk about this. Don’t forget your supply pick-up for Monday thru Friday. Sorry ya’ll but alcoholism for most starts with a choice. For those who have a productive life and don’t have time for this life choice, alcoholism is very rare..


diamond

Paula was given many more chances than the average drunk. It’s appalling to see her blame everyone and now try to capitalize on her own actions. The article say she faced 120 days in jail. Has she served any of that? Or is this another case of having connections to the right people as her husband was a judge until he retired last year. What should be investigated is why she never has been held accountable. Now she thinks she deserves a payday bonanza. It never ends.


Rich in MB

Ha ha ha…sure…let an attorney see money at the end of a discrimination lawsuit and anything is possible in this crazy world of “blame someone else”.


805code4

Alcoholism isn’t a disability, it’s an addiction!! It’s not harassment when your employer is trying to get you to fall in line. Wow


TWEEKSBALMER

What a low life and she found a lawyer to match. Just fight your disease and be glad you didn’t kill anyone.


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