Monday, 22 October 2012

Weight Discrimination

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Weight Discrimination

The ideal of weight as a disability is debatable in Corporate America. The American Disability Act (ADA) defines a disability as meaning, with respect to an individual, a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual, or . . . being regarded as having such an impairment.

The impairment terms are when a person is not physically able to do the job because of their weight. Recently in the news, a Russian dancer was released from a dance company because she was too heavy for the other dancers to lift her. The Russian dancer is far from being obese and no where near being overweight by physical appearance but because she was release for not being able to do her job is an issue that may/may not qualify for a suit of weight discrimination. The ADA regard to this issue is if the boss regards the overweight employee as being physically impaired. I will be following this case to see the outcome.

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American obesity is on the rise by 0%. American Obesity Association states on its web site that 55% of American adults are categorized as obese or overweight. Obesity is known to be unhealthy and it can substantially increase risk for many disabling conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gall bladder disease, and some forms of cancer. That said, Weight Discrimination in the work place has become just as popular as any other form of hidden discrimination in the work force.

This paper looks as how weight discrimination in both the civilian sector and the U.S. militaries. Far to often the civilian sector looks upon the military standards for a company’s purposed guidelines in many aspects of their business operation. However, the means to accomplish and/or maintain this standard is either not effective or is not existent. The direct opposite is present in the military, the have the means to accomplish and maintain this standard because military members are forced to maintain certain weight standards due of implication of a unit not being mission ready when called upon to carry out an orders effect our nations interest.

The Army uses what is comically called a “fat boy” regulation, Army

Regulation (AR600-). This regulation governs the prescribed weight standards by age and gender. When soldiers are overweight they are looked upon to be incapable of accomplishing the mission. Supervisors are harder on the soldier, they may be passed over for special assignment, promotion to the next highest pay grade. Many times, this form of discreet verbal abuse is enough to push some over the edge. This example, clearly shows overweight people within the military are subject to both subtle and blatant forms of discrimination. However, it not called discrimination, it masked as a motivator - to help motivate soldiers to get within standard and to maintain those standards.

In reviewing the civilian sector, I see some of the same similarities. The appearance in corporate America is considered to be a selling factor for most companies. If you are overweight it is almost certain you will not be standing in front of a group of people selling the company’s product or image. The standard Professional looking image is sleek and thin.

Most companies tend not to show a genuine concern about an employee’s health until it causes the company money, such as an increase in health insurance.

Bottom line - When corporations being to lose money, weight became a hot issue. in the past year U.S.

companies have lost $1 billion dollars due to higher use of health care to treat obesity-related diseases. Now corporations are concern, because they now have lower productivity and more absenteeism, according to the Washington Business Group on Health, an organization representing large employers. Obesity outranks both smoking and drinking in terms of increased health costs.

Even though obesity is a significant problem, discrimination occurs and

should not be tolerated because we have rights as a people.

Discrimination is defined as unequal treatment of employees based on non-job-related factors, such as race, sex, age, national origin, religion, color, and physical or mental handicap. Discrimination in any form is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

Companies do not have the right to discriminate because of weight. Regretfully, there is no law in place to protect overweight people. In short, size does matter!

In making the military behavior more acceptable, there are programs put in place to assist the military member in meeting weight standards. Does that mean that the military has a genuine concern for each soldier’s health, more than civilian sector? No it is because, the military has to be able to performance during extreme and very trying time during various mission related to national defense.

There does not appear to be any legal recourse for weight discrimination because it is hard to prove in the legal arena.

The major civil rights statutes focus on traits that cannot be changed, such as race, gender, or age. Since a persons weight is usually not an unalterable trait, it is difficult, if not impossible to find a provision in a law that provides protection for overweight people. The one possible exception to this conclusion is the Americans with Disabilities Act. By the terms of this law, it was passed because discrimination against individuals with disabilities persists in areas like employment. Individuals with disabilities are normally discrete and insular minorities who have been faced with a history of unequal treatment.

The ADA prohibits most employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with a disability, because of the disability of such individual, in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training and . . . other privileges of employment.

Classes of people which suffer discrimination often have to put in twice the effort others do to succeed in the workplace. If you belong to one or more minority groups you have to try three times as hard.

You deserve to be treated fairly and judged on your qualifications, your talents, and your job performance. Weight discrimination, like any prejudice, is wrong. 000, Council on Size & Weight Discrimination, Inc. 845-67-10.

I have review several cases on weight discrimination in both organizations and found them both to have more or less have the same substance. “Your appearance is unbecoming,” or “You are not qualified because of your appearance.” Those words are heard all to often when you are on the receiving end of being overweight. These quotes are the same for military related soldiers. Only to add, “You are not mission ready.” All these words are hurtful and can cause a low morale in the organization or low self esteem.

A 18 survey by the Sacramento-based National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance showed that many fat people sense discrimination but cant prove it. 6 percent of fat women and 4 percent of fat men reported not being hired for a job because of their weight.

Several cases have been filed but few have actually won.

About 54 percent of military people are overweight, and 6. percent are obese, according to a study done by Dr. Richard Atkinson, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin.

In the civilian world, the majority of overweight people are women, while in the military, the reverse holds true. Atkinson said a study that shows 58.6 percent of the men and 6.1 percent of the women in the military are overweight. When military members do not maintain weight standard, they may be face with one of the following examples

- About 600 people are separated from the Air Force every year for weight reasons.

- In the Navy, overweight sailors are barred from advancement, and when their four-year contract expires, many are not allowed to re-enlisted, because they could not meet and/or maintain Navy standards.

Each year, between ,000 and 4,500 people are discharged from all branches of the military for being overweight.

As of today, there are only four places in the nation that have laws that directly prohibit discrimination by weight. They are San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Washington, D.C., and Michigan. Federal law, many states and local statutes protect the disabled, which has inspired some advocates to litigate fat-discrimination disputes on the basis of disability rights laws.

The hallmark federal law is the Americans with Disabilities Act. It defines disability as a condition that substantially limits a major life activity. It does not specifically include fat people, but it does protect people with some of the medical conditions caused by obesity.

Works Cited

Week of April 1, 00, In Depth The Business of Fat /sacramento/stories/00/04/1/focus.html

00 American City Business Journals Inc. Kathy Robertson

Watching The Corporate Waistline

Kasia Moreno, Forbes.com, 08.04.0

The Technical Assistance Manual - Title I - ADA - Section I-5

The Americans with Disabilities Act, th Annual EEO Conference, November , 15

�000, Council on Size & Weight Discrimination, Inc. 845-67-10 www.cswd.org

Channel news.com Colorado

Researchers study weight management program

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Elliott

Wilford Hall Medical Center Public Affairs


Military fights growing waistlines

Battle of the Bulge

By Kimberly E. Mock mailtokmock@onlineathens.com


Athens Banner-Herald on Thursday, May 15, 00.

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