A large number of the population is suffering from weight issues. Having to suffer from a weight issue has many disadvantages. Of all these disadvantages, one which can pose a dilemma is obesity discrimination. Discrimination anywhere and in any form is unacceptable, yet it has long been a reality. Of the many forms of discrimination, there is one- obesity discrimination- which is quite prevalent in the workplace.
One of the questions often asked by overweight people is : “Can I be fired because of my overweight condition?”
Legally, a person cannot be fired for being overweight. But then again, the fact must be noted that considerable cases of obesity discrimination have been filed and gone to court. For all these number of cases, very few have proven discrimination in the workplace.
Factors such as looks, weight and state of overall health can have significant influence over a person’s career advancement. That’s how it is often played in the American Corporate arena. Human Resource departments have kept tidy denied promotions, awkward stares and whispers in the workplace pertaining to physically or weight “disadvantaged” employees.
But discrimination in the workplace can almost be impossible to prove, at best. In 1989, Pan American Airways paid $2.35 million to over 116 women who were discriminated for being overweight. During the next decade, hundreds of similar cases followed suit. In subsequent years, however, such cases in Corporate America have become extinct.
In the recent years, healthcare costs have risen. In fact, they have significantly escalated. As a result, corporations were forced to flip the bill for their employees. A large percentage of companies agreed to increase premiums for certain employees. They are those who are overweight, habitual smokers, those suffering from hight cholesterol as well as workers with other health issues.
The increase on premiums was based on the premise of rewarding healthy behavior and at the same time helping those who have habit-related problems. Such a measure may seem discriminatory, although healthy workers would disagree. Healthy workers who visit their doctors 1-2 times annually as well as unhealthy ones visiting their doctors 9-13 times a year have been paying the same premiums.
The thought of overweight discrimination or any form of discrimination is frowned upon. It is generally unacceptable, but its existence and manifestation in society is a fact. For some, being overweight is a choice, for others, it is an illness or condition which requires medical attention. More than being discriminated upon, being overweight performs a vital role in a person’s happiness and well-being.
And more than getting promotions and being popular in the workplace, being fit and healthy can bring rewards. Such is why engaging in a health and fitness program is a worthy endeavor. Healthy and happy more often go together, not only in terms of a successful career but in living in general.
It can be challenging to go on a healthy diet and engage in physical activity regularly. But choice is the crux of the matter concerning obesity discrimination, being overweight and deciding to be happy. Much is yet to be said on what corporations and companies have to consider, but on an individual scale, a person can take responsibility on taking a stand and in choosing to live healthier and happier.