On October 16th we posted that “Massachusetts may be on the brink of passing a law prohibiting employment discrimination based on height and weight. … One commentator noted some time ago that according to surveys “weight bias” is widespread in employment, with some reporting that within the continuum of employees who were overweight to severely obese there was a 12 to 100 times more likelihood of discrimination.
On July 9, 2012 we posted a piece entitled: Unattractiveness – The Next Workplace Protected Class? and said that “A lot has been written lately (in legal blogs, at least) about what some call “beauty bias” – but which we have recently called “appearance bias” — workplace bias based upon appearance. Obesity bias seems to be the most frequently observed manifestation of this.”
My partner Christina noted a while ago that many employers may be passing up star performers because of their obesity.
However, an in–house attorney with a corporation in Tennessee recently read our post and strongly opposed hiring the obese. She commented on it in a LinkedIn group discussion as follows:
“I am really opposed to this. Unless the obesity is due to a confirmed medical condition and would fall under ADA, I disagree with forcing employers to hire someone obese. I, personally, would not do so. I have had good employees who have been obese, but I put too much of a premium on self-discipline, regard for health and fitness to hire someone obese.”
Is this fair and/or accurate – that the obese lack self-discipline? And is this an appropriate hiring criteria?
Anyone have any comments?