Monday, April 27, 2009

Employment Discrimination and Obesity

As I continue to explore the reseach about discrimination against the obese, I am not surprised to see that study after study shows discrimination in all areas related to employment.  This discrimination is worse for women than it is for men.  Overweight women are less likely to be hired, less likely to receive raises, less likely to be promoted, and more likely to be fired than thin women.

In one study, employers were given resumes with photos for available positions.  Thin women were often favored over overweight women even when the overweight women was more qualified.  When employers were questioned about their decisions, they often said that overweight individuals were lazy, sloppy, and not good workers.  Reality shows no correlation between obesity and the performance of most job tasks.  Obviously certain jobs have physical fitness requirements, but even for these jobs, simply being overweight may not correlate with a low fitness level.  Assumptions should not be made about applicants based on their weight alone.

I think the most shocking research result that I saw was one employer survey where 16% of the respondents said that they would not hire an overweight woman under any circumstances!  Knowing that there is a huge heredity component to obesity and that very few people are successful at irradicating the condition in spite of a huge drive by any obese person that I have known, I feel that employers need to stop judging and start hiring the best people for the jobs.


WebbieLady said...

I think deiscrimination is everywhere not only those who looks at people's weight and appearance but for many other reasons: race, gender, status of life (you have car or not?), marital status, etc.

Although we can always claim we are not bias, but deep inside we know what we want.

This world is so polluted with stereotypes and prejudices and no matter what we do, we cannot help it as we were/are raised differently. There is also the society and peers that affect us or influence us.

Callista said...

That's terrible! I was just reading yesterday how the newly crowned Miss Australia meet the weight requirement for anorexia. Her BMI is 15.1 and it's 17.5 and under for anorexia. 18.5 and under is underweight. Sheesh.

Katherine a.k.a. Katie Corrigan said...

I have experienced discrimination of another kind...Ageism.
Unfortunately, there will always be people who judge by appearance and not by experience. They are missing out on a lot of talented people that way. Keep up the great work with your blog! I extend my friendship and invite you to join me at
Make new friends and promote your blog too! Wishing you happiness, Katherine

LilysGramma said...

Amen sister! I am a 51 year old grandmother who is more than 100 lbs overweight. I have been looking for gainful employment for more than 1 year now. I have had a few temp jobs that I got "sight unseen" through a temp agency. I truly feel that I have been discriminated against for not only my weight, but for my age. It hurts and it doesn't help our finances either! I too, have a blog on obesity and discrimination at (this URL might change very soon!). Keep up the good fight, Blog on!!