2:50pm PT by Jackie Strause
Dr. Phil Sued by Ex-Staffer Claiming False Imprisonment
A former employee of the Dr. Phil show is suing for alleged false imprisonment and wrongful constructive termination.
Leah Rothman says she worked on the TV show from approximately December 2003 until April 24, 2015, when she claims she was "forced to leave," according to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
In her suit, Rothman blames her exit on Dr. Phil McGraw, who is a defendant along with the show's production company Peteski Productions, EPSG Talent Services and network CBS Studios.
According to the complaint, the segment director suffered emotional distress when she was falsely imprisoned at a meeting during which McGraw locked the door, yelled profanities and threatened employees for supposedly leaking internal information to the press.
CBS did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
The complaint states that on March 11, 2015, McGraw locked approximately 300 Dr. Phil employees, including Rothman, in a room, asked them to turn off their phones and said he had contacted the "Feds" because the information was transmitted over state lines. Rothman claims that McGraw threatened her and her colleagues, stating, "If you f— with me, I'll f— with you."
Rothman says she was not allowed to leave the meeting, which she suggests may have been a scripted and planned event by McGraw. Later, Rothman claims she was told by a CBS executive that the defendants "were already aware of the identity of the individual who leaked the information prior to the March 11, 2015, meeting."
On March 18, Rothman reported the incident to human resources, who "simply condoned Dr. Phil's behavior." She says she was never granted any follow-up meetings. Rothman "was forced to quit her job," states the complaint, "due to the intolerable workplace she had been subjected to working in."
Rothman is claiming whistleblower retaliation.
This is not the first time McGraw has been hit with a false imprisonment lawsuit. In 2011, he and CBS settled a suit by two women who claimed they were held captive against their will and forced to be in a room with a naked man.
Read the full complaint below: