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Weight discrimination in the workplace weighs heavily on people's minds

According to data collected in 2011 by the Center for Disease Control, 30.8 percent of Indiana's population was considered obese. Along with the physical strain, many of these people face discrimination that can come in many forms.

A new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll found that 52 percent of people who fell into the "obese" or "morbidly obese" categories believe they had been discriminated against when applying for jobs, or when being considered for promotions, because of their weight.

The chairman of The Harris Poll says this isn't surprising, stating that "many people do not believe that it is offensive to make critical remarks about people's weight or for employers to use weight as a factor when deciding whom to hire."

More recently, companies, in an effort to save money, have been moving towards a more "health conscious" mentality in order to cut health-care costs. But some nutritionists and fitness trainers have pointed out that many of their clients in these situations feel more discriminated against and feel that their employers associate their obesity with being uneducated, lazy and non-ambitious.

According to employee rights in the workplace, an employee has the right to be free from discrimination and harassment of all types, which leaves many to argue that not hiring someone or not promoting someone based on their weight qualifies as workplace discrimination.

Though many employers may not feel that this is discrimination what matters is that many of their employees feel it is. Being insensitive to issues such as weight could leave employers open to costly lawsuits in the future.

Source:, "Obese Americans say they also must deal with stigma and outright discrimination, poll finds," Amanda Gardner, Aug. 23, 2012

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