are heavier than average are paid $1.25 less an hour.
Over a 40-year career, they will earn up to $100,000 less
before taxes than their thinner counterparts (Baum, 2004).
heavy women make about 6% less in wages than standard weight
women. Very heavy women make 24% less. Men experience
significant wage penalties only at the highest weight levels.
workers are not given raises as often as thinner
workers. In a study of over 2000 women and men, wage growth
rates were 6% lower in a three-year period for heavier
workers. (Loh, 1993)
Young women (ages 18 to 25) employees are
especially penalized if they are larger than average,
earning 12% less than their thinner counterparts
(Register, 1990) and being more likely to be found in
low-paying jobs (Pagan, 1997). Other factors were ruled
out, and the reason for the difference was found to be
social bias and discrimination. (Gortmaker, 1996;
who were 50% or more above their ideal weight on the
height-weight charts, 26% reported they were denied
benefits such as health insurance because of their weight,
and 17% reported being fired or being pressured to resign
because of their weight (Rothblum, 1990).
prejudice against larger people has been demonstrated
consistently in studies using written descriptions,
photographs, videotape, and actors. Larger and smaller job
applicants were matched for equal qualifications, equal
references, and similar personalities. Hiring staff usually
chose the thinner applicants with equal qualifications,
and made unfounded assumptions about the larger
applicants--such as that they were too aggressive, difficult
to work with, lacking in self-discipline, less productive, or
less determined--even if they had never met or spoken to the
applicants. One study, using photographs, showed that
prejudice against heavier applicants was found even when faces
were obscured, ruling out the factor of facial attractiveness
(Pingitore, 1994; Klassen, 1993; Klesges, 1990; Rothblum,
1988; Decker, 1987; Larkin, 1979).
best person for the job
applicants and workers who are larger than average face
discrimination and prejudice in every aspect of employment.
This discrimination is worse for women, who experience
discrimination even if they are just slightly larger than
average. Employers are passing over qualified applicants and
choosing to hire, promote, and maintain workers who are less
qualified simply because of their appearance, and specifically
because of their weight. This is resulting in a tremendous
waste of worker talent.
managers and corporate decision-makers could see past false
stereotypes and overcome their own biases, they would hire,
promote, and maintain the best people for the job, based on
qualifications and job performance. Their businesses would
benefit greatly from policies that reward job qualifications
and performance rather than body size.