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The heavy truth about your weight

After working hard to get through college, you were proud of your degree and felt prepared for the line of work you chose. However, things may not be turning out as you expected. Your job search has been frustrating. After what seemed like a great interview, you received no offer of employment.

Maybe you landed a job, but you've been stuck in an entry-level position while others moved up quickly. On the other hand, maybe the company fired you, and you have a suspicion that it was because of your appearance rather than your job performance.

Mistreatment because of your size

If you experienced hostility or disrespect on the job because of your weight, you are in good company. Overweight people, especially women, frequently report abusive treatment by bosses or co-workers. In addition to you enduring the disdain of other workers, your weight may affect every aspect of your employment.

Studies show that those responsible for hiring and managing employees often treat overweight people, particularly women, differently from those of average size. You may be less likely to receive the benefits smaller people do, such as:

  • Being hired for jobs for which you are equally qualified
  • Earning a fair salary
  • Receiving promotions or raises
  • Working in positions that are less physically demanding
  • Interacting with customers

You may also be more likely to be fired for vague or questionable reasons even if your performance reviews have been acceptable. A recent university study found that overweight people are 12 times more likely to suffer these examples of discrimination.

Protection is not available for everyone

In other parts of the country, weight is not a protected characteristic like race, color or disability. In fact, the Americans with Disabilities Act does not consider obesity to be a disability unless it is related to another ailment, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, which is disabling.

Fortunately, if you live in Michigan, you have legal recourse to address the situation. Michigan is the only state in the country with a statue prohibiting discrimination in the workplace due to a person's weight. Because of this, you may have cause to file a complaint against an employer who refused to hire, promote or retain your employment simply because of your size.

It is likely that those who discriminated against you have cost you money by denying you the opportunities for which you may be well-qualified. Your attorney can investigate your circumstances and help you seek fair compensation.

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