Weight Watchers Sued for Policy against Hiring Pregnant Women

September 29, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The WW Group, Inc. d/b/a Weight Watchers violated federal law when it refused to hire an applicant as a group leader because she was pregnant, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit.

An EEOC press release said the job seeker, a long term client of Weight Watchers who had successfully met and maintained her weight goals, was encouraged to apply for the group leader position by her own Weight Watchers group leader. When Weight Watchers discovered she was pregnant, it told her that it did not hire pregnant women and refused to consider her further for the job.  

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 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, in the press release. “The EEOC will vigorously enforce a pregnant woman’s right to be considered for a job.”