US Weekly reports that Jessica Simpson is pregnant. Again. Not only does the lucky *&^%$ have a fashion empire and a lucrative contract with Weight Watchers, but she’s clearly blessed with the gift of fertility! My heart goes out to all my TTC sisters out there who might be just a tad jealous of Ms. Simpson’s latest news. Our time will come ladies.
So what does Weight Watchers (WW) have to say about all this? Well, pretty much nothing according to US. After all, pregnancy is hardly the ideal time to be counting calories unless you’re morbidly obese and it might impair the growth of your fetus. Here’s WW’s response to the beautiful news:
“Any questions related to Jessica’s personal life can only be answered by her team,” Stephanie Schulman, Weight Watchers’ public relations manager, told E! News
Wednesday. “We do not disclose financial details about our relationships with any of our ambassadors.”
Is this a cold shoulder from the women’s weight loss chain capital!? It kind of sounds like one to me. How about a congratulations? Or a cheers! Something like “This point’s on us, Jessica.” I understand the need to protect the precious corporate entity, but WW should know that women everywhere are watching to see what they’ll do next. A passive statement like the one already released, just doesn’t cut it.
So what ARE the legal ramifications when pregnancy prevents one from following through on their end of a contract? Is this considered an act of God? I know some certainly think so. Wouldn’t WW walking away from an inked deal count as pregnancy discrimination? Yet how can Jessica uphold her duties as a weight loss spokesperson while trying to grow a baby? Perhaps they’ll view her pregnancy as a 9-month hiatus or maternity leave?
Regardless, WW better proceed with caution.
After all, a lawsuit against Sisley Cosmetics is underway because Sisley managers asked “questions about [a female employee’s] future reproductive plans who strongly implied that a second child “wouldn’t be good for her job” and all but threatened to make her “redundant” by eliminating her position.” If this is true, it’s very uncool Sisley. I don’t know how they do things in France, but in the United States pregnancy discrimination is illegal and violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978.
Also recently, a Price is Right model prevailed in her lawsuit
against the show claiming similar discrimination. She alleged that she wasn’t able to return to the show after maternity leave because she had been pregnant. The production company responsible for Price is Right hopes to appeal, claiming that the Jury wasn’t allowed to consider evidence that 40% of their models have had children.
Considering these recent lawsuits, WW responses going forward will say a lot about the company’s culture, PR and marketing teams. I personally think they should embrace Jessica’s pregnancy and chart her progress as she nurtures her body to a healthy pregnancy weight. While caloric needs are different for expectant mothers, there’s no reason Jessica needs to gain 70 pounds this time around. WW should be able to work with that in a way that extends their reach beyond the everyday woman just trying to slim down. No lawsuits required.