Human Resources



It might soon be illegal to call your co-workers fat

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Discrimination against people because of age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and disability has been made illegal, but what about a person’s weight?

That counts too, according to Philip Rostant, a judge specialising in employment law in the UK. He opines “fattist discrimination” in the workplace should be outlawed to bring the issue into line with other equality issues, The Telegraph reports.

The judge said such laws would prevent bias against those of “non-ideal weight”.

A new law could also mean terms such as “fatty” or a refusal to employ or promote people because of their weight would bring similar penalties as discriminating against ethnic minorities or gay people.

In an academic paper, Rostant and co-author Tamara Hervey, a professor of law at Sheffield University, warned that over-weight people found it harder to get jobs, were paid less than thinner colleagues, and were at greater risk of being sacked.

ALSO READ: The industries that are most likely to make you fatter

“People of non-ideal weight are subjected to discrimination, in the workplace and elsewhere, based on attitudinal assumptions and negative inferences … such as that they are insufficiently self-motivated to make good employees,” they wrote.

Hervey and Rostant point out that obese people are protected from discrimination only if they can prove they are also disabled.

“Being overweight, or even obese, is not in itself a prohibited ground of discrimination in UK law, or in the law of the European Union. This situation leaves a gap in the law which is remediable only by legislative reform,” said Hervey and Rostant.

Image: Shutterstock

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