Weight Discrimination in the Workplace

Typically, when individuals think of workplace discrimination race, religion, and/or gender immediately come to mind.  However, some employees are facing discrimination due to their weight.  According to a recent article in Fast Company titled "The Hidden Discrimination Against Being Fat At Work":

Numerous studies have found that obese and overweight people experience all manner of discrimination at work, and much of it is perfectly legal. Some struggle to find a job at all. In recent years, employers like Victoria Hospital in Texas have explicitly stated that they won't hire anyone with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 35 (about 220 pounds for someone who is 5-foot-6), which is far from a foolproof predictor of good health.
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$1.85M Fine for Gender Discrimination

Gordon Food Services, a Michigan-based company, was recently fined by the Department of Labor for systemic gender discrimination resulting from their hiring practices.  Gordon's would often disqualify women from warehouse jobs due to their failure to satisfy strength tests administered by the company.  

The department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs indicated that it "found that the company systematically eliminated qualified women from the hiring process through various discriminatory means, including the unlawful use of the strength test." Six women were hired, compared to nearly 300 men.

The federal government deemed the test illegal because it was non-essential to the functions of the respective job.  

As a result, Gordon's agreed to pay $1,850,000 in back pay, interest, and benefits to the 926 women affected by the discrimination.  Additionally, the government ordered Gordon's to hire 37 of the women affected.  As with most cases of gender discrimination an adequate assessment of current hiring practices would have raised a "red flag" preventing a sizeable fine and negative publicity. 

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