The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Federal Agency Says Company Denied Equal Pay to Working Women

CLEVELAND – The Health Management Group, Inc., the parent company for franchises Physicians Weight Loss Centers of America, Inc., and Diet Center Worldwide, Inc., violated federal law when it paid two female employees less than a male employee who performed the same duties, according to a lawsuit filed today by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC says in the suit (Case No. 5:09cv1762), filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, that Krishna McCollins and Donna Davidson both worked in the position of director of franchise development for Physicians Weight Loss and Diet Centers, respectively. In April 2007, Brett Smiley, a male employee, was hired and paid a significantly higher salary in his position as director of franchise development for Distinctly Physicians, another program operated by parent company Health Management Group, Inc. The EEOC’s investigation revealed that there was no significant difference between the duties performed by Smiley and those performed by McCollins and Davidson.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Equal Pay Act, which protects people against wage discrimination because of sex. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement out of court.

The EEOC seeks to eliminate the discriminatory practices cited in the case and have Health Management Group, Inc. compensate McCollins and Davidson for their monetary losses.

“This litigation addresses the real meaning of equal pay for equal work,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “Sex-based pay discrimination is an unlawful employment practice that will not be tolerated by the EEOC.”

According to company information, Physicians Weight Loss and Diet Centers Worldwide are two of the three separately incorporated entities which operate under the umbrella of Health Management, the parent corporation. Health Management Group, Inc. employs approximately 23 people and is headquartered in Akron, Ohio.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on the agency’s web site at

This page was last modified on July 30, 2009.

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