LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Following a month-long trial, a jury decided Monday that Aaron Spelling and Spelling Entertainment discriminated against an actress fired from the popular television show "Melrose Place" after revealing she was pregnant.
Actress Hunter Tylo was awarded $4 million for emotional distress and $894,601 for breach of contract by the Los Angeles jury after she sued Spelling for pregnancy discrimination, breach of contract and wrongful termination because she told show producers she was expecting and was then let go from her job.
Tylo had been hired by Spelling in February 1996 to play the part of a "sexy vixen" on "Melrose Place." But Spelling's attorneys said weight gain that accompanies pregnancy would make it impossible for her to be convincing in the role.
Defense lawyers said Tylo clearly broke the terms of her contract by violating a "material change of appearance" clause.
They added during case testimony that they had offered Tylo a settlement proposal that included a new contract and a different role on the show for the following season. Their closing arguments characterized Tylo as a "liar and publicity seeker."
Tylo's said she filed the lawsuit on behalf of all pregnant women and that she is proud she stood up for herself. "They never dreamed I would challenge them -- never. Believe me, no woman in this business wants to challenge a producer in this business. You can be blackballed very easily," she said outside court.
Tylo contended that she always had the ability to do the job and added that there were many things the show's producers could have done that would have allowed her to remain in the role.
Star-studded testimony was heard by the 10-woman, two-man jury. Actress Heather Locklear, who stars on the show, testified that she was allowed to play a vixen-type role on the show during her pregnancy and that the show's producers worked "TV magic" to conceal the fact she was with child.
Actress Lisa Rinna, who plays the role originally intended for Tylo, recently announced she is expecting. Like Locklear, Rinna, will be permitted to continue working on the show in her sexy role.
Tylo's lawyer had sought punitive damages of approximately $2.5 million from Spelling's company.
The actress is best known for her longtime role as a psychiatrist on the CBS daytime soap opera "The Bold & the Beautiful." She gave up her job to move into nighttime television, but after her termination, she was able to resume work with the daytime soap.