(WJBK) - Elizabeth DeLorean says everything was going great working for the Coach retail store. In fact, she was even promoted and even managed her own store. But, she says everything changed a few years ago when she started to gain weight, and that she was ultimately fired over her weight.
"She specifically says to the employer, to her boss, 'Is this because of my weight?' And her boss says to her, 'That's not the "official" reason we're giving you, but ...'" says DeLorean's attorney, Sarah Prescott. Prescott is suing Coach on behalf of DeLorean.
"It was awful. It was terrible for her," Prescott says.
DeLorean was hired as a Coach Assistant Manager at Somerset in Troy in 2002. She performed so well on the job, we're told she was promoted to store manager in 2007 at the now-shuttered Lakeside Mall location. Then, around 2010, the once-petite DeLorean began to gain weight. That is when the Royal Oak native says the bullying, critiquing and weight shaming began.
"It wasn't just, sort of like, 'Let's be healthy,'" Prescott says. "There were things like, at a performance evaluation, 'Whatever happened to the girl who brought in her Lean Cuisines? Where's that girl?'" Prescott says they didn't feel DeLorean promoted the company's culture and image you see on the website.
According to the complaint, DeLorean's supervisors wanted her to lose weight. So, they told her to tune into the TV show "The Biggest Loser." They also encouraged her to take synthetic hormones for weight loss, and even pushed her to get bariatric surgery.
"She found herself in a cycle that was made a whole lot worse by the way she was treated," Prescott says.
In November of 2012, DeLorean became pregnant. Eight months later, she was fired from the company. DeLorean is suing for weight discrimination and intentional infliction of stress. Prescott says she hopes this lawsuit sends a message that no one should have to put up with this sort of workplace behavior.
"Her view is, this isn't right. This shouldn't happen to me. This shouldn't happen to the next person. So, let's see if we can fix this," Prescott says of her client.
FOX 2 reached out to a Coach spokesperson by phone and email Tuesday afternoon and is still waiting to hear back. As for DeLorean, she currently works for another purse retailer.
DeLorean and her attorney say that the treatment happened from several layers of management. They hope others who may have been treated the same way will come forward.