A successful member of Weight Watchers is suing The WW Group, Inc. d/b/a Weight Watchers for refusing to hire her as a group leader because she was pregnant.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charged in a lawsuit filed today that Weight Watchers violated federal law when it refused to hire the woman.
According to an EEOC statement, the job seeker had been a long-term client of Weight Watchers. She had successfully met her weight loss goals, and had maintained the weight loss. She had done so well that her own group leader encouraged her to apply for a group leader position.
But Weight Watchers discovered she was pregnant, and according to the EEOC, the woman was told that Weight Watchers does not hire pregnant women and the company refused to consider her further for the job.
From the EEOC:
Refusing to consider a woman for a job because she is pregnant violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The EEOC filed suit against Weight Watchers in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, (EEOC v. The WW Group, Inc., d/b/a Weight Watchers International, Inc., Case No. 2:11-cv-14220) after first attempting to settle the matter. The EEOC’s suit seeks back pay, compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of the applicant along with injunctive relief intended to prevent further instances of pregnancy discrimination.
“Maintaining a blanket policy against hiring pregnant women is a clear violation of the law,” said EEOC Trial Attorney Nedra Campbell. “The EEOC will vigorously enforce a pregnant woman’s right to be considered for a job.”
The WW Group, Inc. owns and operates Weight Watchers International, Inc. (NYSE: WTW) franchisees. The WW Group, Inc. was founded in 1968 and is based in Farmington Hills, Mich. It operates outlets in Michigan and in Canada.
The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov.