Woman alleges Diet Center fired her after announcing pregnancy

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 3, 2011, 8:25am

SHERMAN - A Plano diet center is accused of violating the civil rights of its manager by firing her shortly after learning she was pregnant, according to a recently filed federal lawsuit.

Angela Button filed a lawsuit against Medifast Inc. and Jason Properties, doing business as Medifast Weight Control Centers, on Sept. 15 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

Button was hired by Medifast as a center manager in April 2007 and most recently worked at its Plano location. After some company restructuring, Button began reporting to a new area supervisor in 2010, the suit states. In November 2010, Button advised the new supervisor that she was pregnant, according to the complaint.

About a week later, Button claims she was advised that her supervisor had initiated an investigation into her "performance problems" and placed her on suspension. By Nov. 17, 2010, Button was terminated, the suit states.

The defendant is accused of discriminating against Button due to her pregnancy and in retaliation for her opposition to discriminatory employment practices in violation of her civil rights. Medifast is also accused of discriminated against Button or retaliated against her for her notification of need to exercise her Family Medical Leave Act rights.

The plaintiff is asking the court for a permanent injunction to stop the defendant from further civil rights violations and for an award of back pay, front pay, benefits, lost wages, punitive damages, mental anguish, humiliation, loss of privacy, loss of reputation, emotional distress, attorney fees, court costs and interest.

Button is represented Christine Neill and Jane Legler Byrne of Neill & Byrne of Dallas.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Richard A. Schell is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:11-cv-00594

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