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May 10th, 2014, 15:07 PM  
Jeans
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Weight discrimination

I was reading an article about overweight people being passed over for jobs and/or promotions because of their weight. It went on to say that many employers judge by appearance and "fat" people are perceived as being lazy and having no self control. In the US, employers don't want to hire people that they think will cost them more for health insurance.

There is so much discrimination in this world.
 
May 10th, 2014, 20:07 PM  
Avocado
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That's what I always hear but where I live I see tons of overweight people working in places. So maybe it's just certain areas where this happens. Almost seems like it's a requirement to be overweight here!
 
May 10th, 2014, 23:33 PM  
Stephen Reed
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I agree that there is a lot of discrimination, and it's wrong.

But to take a counter view for a moment, just to open things up for discussion. Don't bite my head off, just playing devil's advocate.

BTW, I work with a lot of overweight people, so am quite aware of many issues regarding weight, obesity, food addiction etc. The idea that overweight people should just 'toughen up, eat less, and move more' although in effect true, it just is not as simple as that of course. Lifelong emotional issues, self esteem, childhood, family etc etc all entrench behaviours into us without us realising it.

However, from an employers perspective, and the perspective of many insensitive souls who deride the overweight:

1. The perception that an overweight person is likely to be off work more with illness is possibly a real concern, as is the insurance issue in the States. Even if the stats don't support it, the perception is not entirely without credibility.

2. A perception (which has been said to me on more than one occasion), that if someone doesn't have the 'self respect' to not let themselves get hugely overweight, then why would one assume that they care about other things in their lives, qualities that an employer might want but feel they might not get, rightly or wrongly.

In fact, this came from an employer who I discussed nutrition coaching for their employees, we sat down and had a chat and that was their view.

Now it seems harsh, and it is, but we all have 'perceptions' about others. If you went into pub and the choice was to sit next to a guy in a suit and tie or a skinhead with barbed wire tattooed all over his neck and a pair of size 14 doc martens? A self preservation perception perhaps, but not one based on any knowledge of either person. The suited guy might be a serial killer, the skinhead a youth worker who works in a soup kitchen at night.

I think that it is impossible to legislate entirely against bias, it is human nature, and our biases are oft based on our upbringing and interactions with others.

What do you think?
 
 
May 11th, 2014, 03:39 AM  
Matilda
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Yes it is perception and not an intelligent way to look at things. Next we will have to bring in a letter telling our employer we are healthy. I know lots of skinny people who abuse sick leave and overweight people who work every day even when not feeling well.
 
May 11th, 2014, 08:35 AM  
Stephen Reed
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Quote:
Quote by Matilda View Post
Yes it is perception and not an intelligent way to look at things. Next we will have to bring in a letter telling our employer we are healthy. I know lots of skinny people who abuse sick leave and overweight people who work every day even when not feeling well.
You are dead right.
 
 
May 11th, 2014, 08:47 AM  
Poppy
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I read an article on this subject recently, too--someone had made a blog post about their experience with the medical community, and how their doctors refused to look into problems because all they thought was wrong with the person was their weight. Turns out they had a brain tumor. Thankfully, they found another doctor who investigated the problem and discovered the tumor. But if that isn't proof of how dangerous a bias can be, I don't know what is.
 
May 12th, 2014, 14:24 PM  
TwylaDee
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There is one (probably more) employer here that, along with drug testing, also tests from nicotine before hiring anyone. Another place, where a friend works, gives them a cheaper rate for health insurance if they join a company weight loss group. If they get and keep their weight at a certain point, they save money. She even has a little pedometer on her shoe, and they are encouraged to walk a certain distance per week. I am all for incentives, but at what point is this something that becomes mandatory? Weekly workplace weigh-ins?
 
May 12th, 2014, 15:14 PM  
avidian
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Insurance is a big issue for many in the states right now. We actually signed paperwork showing that we quit smoking because if we had not done this, they would have increased our insurance rates. As we are paying for 3 through the work of my spouse, we can not get a "family plan" (because we are one kid short), so we are already paying more for having less (people).
 
 
 
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