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Weight Watchers under fire for underpaying employees

What comes to mind when you think of Weight Watchers? You may think of Jennifer Hudson flaunting her body on a television commercial or Jessica Simpson talking about how much the program helped her lose weight. What you probably don't think about is the people who make Weight Watchers run. The employees, however, get little of the glitz and glam that the stars who promote the company do -- especially, it seems, when it comes to their paychecks.

Recently, Weight Watchers employees have begun to speak out against the company, calling out the fact that it shells out millions for celebrity endorsements but pays many of its workers, even some of its leaders, minimum wage. These accusations come just a few years after the weight loss company settled a multi-million dollar class-action lawsuit in California over alleged minimum wage violations.

The company, however, has disputed the claims to an extent. Its communications director recently stated that most of Weight Watchers employees make more than minimum wage because of sales commissions. The company's CEO made nearly $3 million in 2011.

As many employees tell stories of being underpaid or of going completely unpaid for some work, it will be interesting to see if Weight Watchers will adjust its compensation plans or if the workers will take legal action for being treated unfairly. All employees across the state and country deserve fair pay no matter what their jobs is. Companies are responsible for following federal laws about compensation, and when they don't, employees have the right to take legal action.

Source: The New York Times, "Low Pay at Weight Watchers Stirs Protest as Stars Rake It In," Steven Greenhouse," Feb. 25, 2013

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