Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Original Story:

After Wendy Lamond-Broughton had her first child, she joined Weight Watchers and lost 30 pounds. She was so proud of losing her baby weight that she applied for a job at the weight-loss company in Farmington Hills. An Austin Employment Lawyer has seen similar situations.

But when Weight Watchers personnel called her for an interview, she says she was told she couldn’t apply for the job — because she was pregnant again.

The WW Group Inc. has agreed to pay Lamond-Broughton $45,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed against it in U.S. District Court.

“It was a very blatant case of discrimination,” said Lamond-Broughton, 40, of Rochester Hills. “I haven’t been back since. I am still shocked and hurt by their treatment of me, and I don’t think I will ever go back.” A Hudson Valley Employment Lawyer said that this type of discrimination is still common.

On Tuesday, local Weight Watchers officials issued a statement.

“For over 40 years, The WW Group has been proud to employ a workforce of primarily women,” said Sheryl Fellows, spokeswoman for The WW Group in Farmington Hills. “There have been many pregnant women employed by our organization throughout the years.”

The case began in September 2009, after Lamond-Broughton, a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, was on a telephone interview with an area manager for a part-time job as a group leader in Troy, court records show.

At the time, she was five months pregnant with her second child. The 5-foot-9-inch woman weighed 169 pounds — about five pounds more than her Weight Watchers goal weight of 164 pounds.

The company requires a goal weight to be at least five pounds less than the joining weight and fall within its healthy weight ranges or one recommended by a health care professional. A Brooklyn DWI Lawyer is watching the case closely.

During the interview, Lamond-Broughton mentioned she was pregnant. The area manager then said Weight Watchers did not hire pregnant group leaders, according to the lawsuit.

“They are a company that markets themselves to women,” said Lamond-Broughton, a stay-at-home mom and part-time actress who does extra work in commercials. “It was shocking to me.”

Lamond-Broughton filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which tried to settle the case. After the EEOC investigated, Weight Watchers said she was disqualified for being above her goal weight. A Binghamton Employment Lawyer said this is absurd.

When settlement efforts failed, Detroit branch officials sued Weight Watchers.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, bars discrimination against pregnant applicants and employees.

“Under the PDA, pregnant applicants have the right to fair and equal consideration for employment,” said Omar Weaver, senior trial attorney for the EEOC’s Detroit Field Office. “The EEOC is committed to ensuring that employers understand that a pregnant applicant’s ability or inability to perform the job is the only factor that may be considered.” An Albany Employment Lawyer agreed to this statement.

The WW Group Inc. denied allegations of pregnancy discrimination and made no admission of liability, court records show.

The consent decree included provisions for training personnel on unlawful employment practices; posting of anti-discrimination notices; and revising the goal weight policy to comply with the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

Lamond-Broughton appreciates the monetary settlement but said she is even more grateful for the intangible outcome. “It’s a positive step for the rights of women everywhere,” she said.

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