Unfortunately, in certain workplaces, workers have been treated unfairly due to their weight, meaning they were not hired, denied a rightful promotion, were terminated for no apparent reason, or were assigned to tasks that were less appealing than what other workers were doing. This kind of discrimination runs very deep in our culture.
At a young age, children who are heavy are made to feel inferior by classmates. False ideas are fixed in people’s minds that being heavy means you are not smart, not competent, unhealthy, or not capable of leading. Studies show, however, that obese people are just as conscientious, agreeable, outgoing, intelligent, and emotionally stable as their skinny counterparts. Yet, to this day, television and the fashion world condition us to think that thin bodies mean health and virtue, and those who are not thin might as well be invisible. This type of behavior has led into the workplace.
Weight Should Not Determine Job Performance
Statistically, about 80 percent of Americans are considered medically obese. Women seem to suffer worse discrimination than men. Logically, this cultural bias extends to the workplace. Overweight individuals are passed over for promotions and office wellness programs over-emphasize weight loss in their regimens.
Only now are people demanding to be treated fairly. The question arises if this historic unfairness rises to the level of illegal discrimination. If it does, court decisions and legislation will need to clarify if this discrimination is wrong, that rights are being violated, and that certain claims and lawsuits are in order.
The Start of Change
Across the U.S., only Michigan and six cities have ordinances banning job discrimination based on body size, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Washington, D.C., Urbana, Illinois, Binghamton, New York, and Madison, Wisconsin. In the other states and cities, it is legal to deny someone a job or promotion because of their weight.
Nothing is happening at the federal level precisely because there has been no standard figure to teach us how to push through anti-discrimination legislation based on weight. Because the prejudice against weight is so ingrained and enforced every minute by commercials and ads, legal change is elusive. Adding body size to the familiar forms of discrimination listed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 looms as a major challenge. However, for Michigan and the six cities mentioned above, they have not suffered negative consequences by acknowledging that people of size have equal rights in the workplace.
Philadelphia Employment Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Advocate for Victims of All Types of Workplace Discrimination
We know that discriminating against people with different body sizes is wrong. The Philadelphia employment discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. are committed to fighting injustice at every turn. For a free evaluation of your case, call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients in Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and throughout New Jersey.