There is outright discrimination against obese people. While it isn’t fair, people judge others on their appearance. If you’re fit and attractive that will work in your favor. However, if you’re overweight that can work against you.
Oftentimes people see obese people as appearing to be a slob, or lacking in self control. Most of the time discrimination against overweight people is subtle. They can be anything from a smile to a fat joke, to turning away laughing when they spot someone who is obese. These things hurt and an obese person will start to see a slight everywhere, even when there really isn’t one.
The workplace is one of the worst places for fat discrimination to occur. Many times someone will be on the fast track for a job they applied for online and once they get to the company for a face to face interview, they will be told that they won't be hired. What seemed like a sure thing online is suddenly not going to happen and really nothing changed. Their resume is the same as it was online, their past experience and education are still the same. The only thing that happened is that their potential employer didn't like the way they looked.
While not legal, fat discrimination happens daily. If you can prove it's happening you have legal remedies. But how can you prove it? Most of the time, you can't. You just won't get that promotion or raise you've been hoping for and you may know in your heart that it's because you're overweight, but you can't prove it.
And, on the other side of the coin, many companies who have to pay health insurance premiums don't think that they can afford it, or that it's fair to have to pay more for people who are overweight, this often extends to smokers too, since they will have more health issues than someone who is in good health and doesn't smoke.
Obese people are far more likely to have health issues, many of them severe. They are more likely to miss work more often and need more medical care. So, while not condoning any type of discrimination, it is important to understand that this isn't a simple issue.
Discrimination against obese people happens, and it's wrong. However, this isn't a black and white issue. When an employer refuses to hire someone just because they're overweight and it won't have an impact on their ability to do their job, it's wrong. If, on the other hand, an employer has to maintain a certain image just to have their business to be successful, it may not be right, but it's not unreasonable either.
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