Coach Sued For Alleged Weight Discrimination By Ex-Employee

Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images.
A former manager is suing Coach for alleged weight discrimination, a Detroit affiliate of CBS News reports. Elizabeth DeLorean, 35, filed the suit in a Detroit federal court on Tuesday, suggesting the retailer fired her after she gained more than 100 pounds over her 10 years working for the company.

The suit claims DeLorean's managers made several comments about her weight. They suggested she start watching The Biggest Loser, her attorney, Sarah Prescott, told CBS News. "Then it would get a little more intense, things like, at a performance review [saying,] 'Whatever happened to the girl who would bring in her Lean Cuisine for lunch every day?'"

Coach claims that DeLeorean was dismissed because of performance issues. The suit alleges that DeLorean's manager said weight was a factor in its decision to fire her.

Michigan is the only state that protects against weight discrimination, though winning a case can be difficult. In 2010, Cassandra Smith brought a suit against Hooters, claiming she was put on a 30-day weight probation. Time reports the case later went into arbitration.

In September, a New Jersey appellate judge ruled that cocktail waitresses at the Borgata Hotel, Casino, and Spa in Atlantic City had no grounds to sue their former employer based on weight discrimination — the company's appearance standards were legal and could be enforced.

"Weight discrimination in employment has been documented as one of the most common forms of employment discrimination that people experience," Rebecca Puhl, a professor at the University of Connecticut and the deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, told R29 when we reported on the issue earlier this year. "Some research in the U.S. has found that among women, weight discrimination is comparable to rates of racial discrimination."
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