There has been a lot of rightful media attention on sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. High-profile cases have brought attention to a long-overlooked issue in American workplaces. That workplace issue is weight discrimination.
Despite recent body-positive social movements, research has shown that heavier workers earn less, promoted less often, and viewed less favorably. In fact, the study said employers see overweight employees as less disciplined. Weight bias also includes negative comments about a worker’s weight or penalties brought on by their company’s benefits program due to their weight.
D.C. law protects workers from weight discrimination
Fortunately for Washington D.C. workers, there are laws classify physical appearance as a protected trait. That means that you could have legal protection against mistreatment based on your weight.
Weight discrimination lawsuits have begun to pop up all over the country and a push to add weight as a protected class has begun. For example, Washington state’s Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal not to hire someone because of their weight over the summer.
Research from the University of Connecticut shows that weight discrimination leads to psychological consequences like depression and anxiety as well as physical problems like eating disorders. These are lasting injuries related to weight discrimination and harassment in the workplace.
You don’t have to tolerate mistreatment
Weight is often beyond a person’s control. A person’s weight is also not a negative or positive reflection of their character either. Washington, D.C. is one of the few United States territories or states that considers an employee’s weight a protected trait. All workers should have the same opportunities regardless of their weight or physical appearance.