Monday, March 31, 2008

Size Discrimination

I don't think we cover size discrimination in class this semester, so I thought maybe this would be good for the blog. I came across an article this morning that talked about size discrimination in Massachusetts. Many people wanted to see height and weight added to the current accommodations on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex. To me, this seems similar to what we talked about in class last week about appearances. I know that companies cannot discriminate a person because of what they look like, but I feel like that happens a lot in our society. One of the people that was interviewed for the article talked about how just because she was overweight doesn't mean she wasn't capable at doing her job. More and more people in the United States are becoming clinical obese every day. Wouldn't this law just promote people that may have been slightly overweight to continue only to become so heavy that their lives are in danger? (I'm not saying this would happen just giving you guys something to think about.)

What about those people who are very underweight, or too tall do you guys feel like they have it any easier than those that are over weight and too short?

What do you guys think about this topic? Do you guys think that maybe this should be handle under disability discrimination? Or do you think it should be added to the race, gender, religion, national origin discrimination claims?

Here's the link to the article:


Blogger Professor Prenkert said...

I know that companies cannot discriminate a person because of what they look like . . .

Recall that employers in most states absolutely can discriminate against a person for what they look like, unless the parameters of that lookism include or are defined by characteristics that are already covered (e.g., race, national origin).

So, hiring only good-looking people is perfectly permissible, unless "good looking" is defined or in practice becomes defined in part by, for instance, being white (or Asian, or whatever).

12:44 PM  
Blogger Professor Prenkert said...

I guess I should not have ignored in my previous comment the serious question that Ashley raises. Is there a reasonable distinction between the kinds of discrimination that are routinely prohibited in the U.S. (race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, and, to a lesser extent, sexual orientation) and height or weight discrimination?

What of the industry representative in the article who claims that expanding the list of protected classes makes a state a less attractive location for economic development activities?

12:46 PM  

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