Even Receptionists At Weight Watchers Must Lose Weight

Illustration for article titled Even Receptionists At Weight Watchers Must Lose Weight

It's no shock that Weight Watchers promotes, well, weight loss. But what is somewhat surprising is that in order to get certain jobs with the company, you also have to drop pounds.


A reader directed us to Weight Watchers' Careers page, which advertises two types of employment opportunities for members who want to join the program's Meeting Room:

* Meetings Leader: You'll help others achieve what you've achieved by offering your expert knowledge of the Weight Watchers plan and support

* Receptionist: You'll help members feel motivated to succeed by welcoming each member, conducting weigh-ins, collecting fees, managing product sales and sharing program knowledge and materials

And then there's the fine print: "To join our Meeting Room team, Leaders must be a Lifetime Member and within 2 pounds of their goal, and Receptionists must be within 10 pounds of their weight goal range upon hire."

This requirement makes a certain amount of sense from the company's perspective — they're all about losing weight, and so you should be good at losing weight before you help other people do so. At the same time, there's something slightly creepy about it — like the only people who are allowed to represent Weight Watchers are those who have successfully gotten skinny. The result may be a skewed view for prospective members — all the Meeting Room staff have reached (or nearly reached) their goals, so it may seem like everybody does. But in reality, only those close to their goal are allowed to staff the Meeting Room. The policy also disadvantages those who genuinely want to work for Weight Watchers but can't because of their BMI. Says our tipster,

I understand them wanting to have their representatives be a shining example of their plan working but I thought the fact that I am an active member would be enough. It makes sense to have the meeting leaders be at their goal weight and able to maintain it since they are teaching the classes - but to have to be a certain weight to be a receptionist seems very silly to me. I am an experienced administrative worker but sadly my skills mean nothing because I am too fat to work at Weight Watchers.

We've contact Weight Watchers for comment on the policy, and we await their response.

Careers [Weight Watchers]

Image via Elnur/Shutterstock.com



I honestly don't know what I think about this, but two things are really striking me about the comments.

First, a lot of people really seem to be completely missing the point. Here it is: this can be seen as straightforward employment discrimination based on weight, and that's very problematic. Employment discrimination based on (for example) race, religion and disability isn't allowed, so why should weight based discrimination be allowed? Now, someone could make an argument that this isn't really weight based discrimination, but in order to debate it, you have to recognize the issue.

Second, the defensiveness of the Weight Watchers members is really striking. I'm sorry people, but WW is neither AA nor a recognized religion. It's up for criticism like everything else. Acting like it and its mission are above reproach, especially considering the failure rate... why?