People who are larger than average encounter discriminatory
attitudes and are denied equal opportunity in many areas of
Prospective employers refuse to hire large size people,
especially in jobs where employees do physical work, or jobs
where employees interact with the public.
Our position: employers can insist that their public
representatives be well groomed, appropriately dressed,
personable, and physically capable of doing the job well. But
any criterion which excludes an entire group of
people--African Americans, people with disabilities, or
larger-than-average people--is unacceptable.
Large people are subject to harassment about their weight by
their employers, are kept in jobs beneath their abilities, and
are often demoted or fired because of stated or unstated
Our position: the only valid criterion for job evaluation,
raises, promotions, disciplinary action, demotion, or firing
is job performance. If an employer thinks an employee's size
hinders their ability to do the job, it is incumbent on the
employer to discuss this with the employee and make a
determination, not to make a judgment about the person's
ability based on their size.
Physicians and other health care professionals often advise
fat patients to lose weight no matter what their medical
condition, whereas a thin person with the same condition would
be given medicine or other medical treatment. Hospitals and
other health care facilities and equipment (such as cat scans
and MRIs) are often inaccessible to large people.
Large people are systematically denied health insurance and
life insurance, or they are forced to pay higher premiums than
those of average weight.
Our position: a person's size does not determine their
health or the healthfulness of their lifestyle.
Applicants are often turned down by educational institutions
because of their size. In a famous discrimination case which
went to the Supreme Court, a college made a nursing student
sign a contract promising to lose weight or be expelled (the
Court invalidated the contract).
Landlords, housing agencies, and real estate agents often deny
larger people apartments, or show them only inferior
locations, to prevent them from moving into the neighborhood.
There are many other aspects of size discrimination. The
Council has consulted with a person who was denied membership
in a traveling choir because of her weight, large-size
couples who were turned down as adoptive parents, and a man
who was asked to accept a refund on his gym membership because
customers had complained that they didn't like to look at his
Public facilities are inaccessible to many large people
because of turnstiles, narrow armchairs, narrow doors,
hallways, and stairs, and small bathrooms.
-Rude Business People
-Denial of Insurance
-Taking Legal Action
-The IMPACT Act