Discrimination: Our Position
who are larger than average encounter discriminatory attitudes and
are denied equal opportunity in many areas of their lives:
employers refuse to hire large size people, especially in jobs where
employees do physical work, or jobs where employees interact with
position: employers can insist that their public representatives be
well groomed, appropriately dressed, personable, and physically
capable of doing the job well. But any criterion which excludes an
entire group of people--African Americans, people with disabilities,
or larger-than-average people--is unacceptable.
people are subject to harassment about their weight by their
employers, are kept in jobs beneath their abilities, and are often
demoted or fired because of stated or unstated weight prejudice.
position: the only valid criterion for job evaluation, raises,
promotions, disciplinary action, demotion, or firing is job
performance. If an employer thinks an employee's size hinders their
ability to do the job, it is incumbent on the employer to discuss
this with the employee and make a determination, not to make a
judgment about the person's ability based on their size.
and other health care professionals often advise fat patients to
lose weight no matter what their medical condition, whereas a thin
person with the same condition would be given medicine or other
medical treatment. Hospitals and other health care facilities and
equipment (such as cat scans and MRIs) are often inaccessible to
people are systematically denied health insurance and life
insurance, or they are forced to pay higher premiums than those of
position: a person's size does not determine their health or the
healthfulness of their lifestyle.
are often turned down by educational institutions because of their
size. In a famous discrimination case which went to the Supreme
Court, a college made a nursing student sign a contract promising to
lose weight or be expelled (the Court invalidated the contract).
housing agencies, and real estate agents often deny larger people
apartments, or show them only inferior locations, to prevent them
from moving into the neighborhood.
are many other aspects of size discrimination. The Council has
consulted with a person who was denied membership in a travelling
choir because of her weight, large-size couples who were turned down
as adoptive parents, and a man who was asked to accept a refund on
his gym membership because customers had complained that they didn't
like to look at his body.
facilities are inaccessible to many large people because of
turnstiles, narrow armchairs, narrow doors, hallways, and stairs,
and small bathrooms.
©2000, Council on Size
& Weight Discrimination, Inc. 845-679-1209 www.cswd.org