L.A. Weight Loss Gender Discrimination Suit to go to Trial

September 14, 2007 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A federal court has ruled that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may proceed to trial with its gender discrimination lawsuit against L.A. Weight Loss Centers, Inc. on behalf of qualified male applicants nationwide.

According to an EEOC press release, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland rejected L.A. Weight Loss’ motions to dismiss the case, and held that the testimonial evidence presented by the EEOC, including discriminatory admissions by various high-level L.A. Weight Loss officials, entitled the EEOC to present its case at trial. The court also granted partial summary judgment to the EEOC on its charge that L.A. Weight Loss failed to maintain relevant employment records.

In addition, the court granted the EEOC’s request for an injunction requiring L.A. Weight Loss to preserve relevant records and give an adverse inference jury instruction regarding the destruction of these employment records.

The EEOC lawsuit, filed in February 2002, alleged that the company engaged in a pattern or practice of disparate treatment against men in its recruiting, hiring, and assignment of employees, the agency said in its release. The EEOC also charged that L.A. Weight Loss disciplined and ultimately terminated employee Kathy Koch, a trainer with the company, in retaliation for attempting to hire male applicants and for her complaints that the company failed to hire qualified male applicants because of their gender.