Weight Loss Chain Fired Employee Over Bipolar Disorder, Federal Agency Charged
DETROIT – A Southfield, Mich.-based chain of weight loss clinics will pay $68,000 to settle a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today. The EEOC had charged that Medical Weight Loss Clinic, Inc. unlawfully fired an employee with bipolar disorder because it regarded her as disabled, even though she had a superior work record with the company.
According to the EEOC’s lawsuit (Case No. 2:07-cv-15394 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan), employee Catherine Jovic was a successful employee for more than seven years with Medical Weight Loss Clinic, but was discharged after it learned that she was on leave due to her disability. Such alleged conduct violates the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
As part of the consent decree resolving the suit (entered by Judge Marianne O. Battani), Medical Weight Loss Clinic will pay $68,000 to Jovic. Medical Weight Loss Clinic also agreed to draft and implement disability discrimination policy training to all of its employees on the ADA.
“We are pleased with the relief provided by the consent decree,” said Dale Price, the EEOC attorney who handled the case. “It provides meaningful relief to Ms. Jovic and protections for the employees of Medical Weight Loss Clinic. It also reminds employers that they cannot make employment decisions based on fears and stereotypes about people with various conditions.”
The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at www.eeoc.gov.