Workplace weight discrimination rivals racial bias

Discrimination against overweight and obese people is as common as racial discrimination, according to a study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University.

Overweight women, in particular, report weight discrimination twice as often than overweight men in the workplace.

“These results show the need to treat weight discrimination as a legitimate form of prejudice, comparable to other characteristics like race or gender that already receive legal protection,” said Rebecca Puhl, research scientist and lead author of the study, which appears in the March 4, 2008 issue of the International Journal of Obesity.

The study compared self-reported weight discrimination to experiences of discrimination based on race and gender among a nationally representative sample of adults between 25 and 74-years-old.

Findings also reveal that women are twice as likely as men to report weight discrimination. Women also reported that weight discrimination in the workplace and interpersonal mistreatment due to obesity is common.

Currently, Michigan is the only state that includes weight and height in its anti-discrimination law.

Without any specific protections in state law, people claiming discrimination must show in court that their obesity is a type of disability, protected under state anti-discrimination law, according to Lillian Mojica, G.Neil Research Attorney.



Kristina Cowan said...

Your blog is very informative. I recently wrote about obesity and the workplace, too, on my blog at, The Salary Reporter. (The link is included with this comment.)

With a large percentage of the population either obese or overweight, shouldn't there be a concerted effort--perhaps from our federal lawmakers--to address the problem and its impact on the workforce?

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