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Weight Discrimination In The Workplace: Realities And Legalities

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There's no denying that Americans are getting heavier and heavier. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control show that, in 1996, no state had a prevalence of obesity equal to or great than 20%.  Just 10 years later, only four states had a prevalence of obesity under 20%, while two states had a prevalence equal to or greater than 30%.  Today, 34% of adults in the U.S. are considered obese, defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. 

Also on the rise: weight discrimination.  A recent study from Yale University found that weight discrimination occurs in employment settings and daily interpersonal relationships as often as race discrimination — the top charge filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) annually — and, in some cases, even more frequently than age or gender discrimination.

While no federal employment laws and only one state law (Michigan) specifically prohibit ...(register to read more)

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

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Karen Parker December 13, 2012 at 6:32 pm

size does not determine anyone’s worth, so why these people would stoop so low is beyond me, I saw so much of this at my old health club and when I reacted to it very verbally, who gets penalized for it??? ME… Just as well, I don’t want to go to any health club that allows this type of behavior, its extremely rude,
don’t those people at your work know any better than to make rude comments??? I said that to someone today at the corporate office of the health club I went to. Discrimination is discrimination, whether it racial , size based, religion etc. People need to live and let live

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Jay October 24, 2012 at 1:11 am

I’ve frequently been the victim of weight-based discrimination at work. Whenever there’s an awful smell, people assume it’s my body odor. I’ve received calls and comments from *three different employers* in the past half a decade, and have twice felt so uncomfortable that I had to quit my job.

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No, REALLY??? July 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I’ve had three people comment on my weight at work. What I DON’T get is that I’m NOT the fattest person at work. Obesity is the final accepted prejudice. People don’t tsk-tsk when someone makes an inappropriate comment about someone’s weight. I can guarantee you that fit would hit the shan if someone made a comment about someone’s race! MY OPINION: UNTIL EVERYONE AT MY OFFICE LOOKS HOTTER AND MORE BUFF THAN CHRIS HEMSWORTH AS THOR, I DON’T HAVE TO LOOK LIKE HALLE BERRY!

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Jeremy August 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm

That’s truly awful. I know that several companies do not hire people because they believe that since they are over weight they will not be as productive. On the contrary, I have seen more hard working people that are over weight than their skinny counterparts! (I also like what you said about Chris Hemsworth; I am actually trying to loose weight and gain muscle from the workout routine he did, and believe me that workout is tough!).

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Carol December 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

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