Debate: It is wrong for employers to discriminate against obese people?

Share
Related Topics

 

What's going on?

Single mother Jay Cole believes new laws should be brought in to stop employers discriminating against overweight people.

Appearing on This Morning yesterday, she said employers judge her 22-stone weight immediately in interviews, and dismiss her for the role, despite being keen to get off benefits and into employment.

Citing an example last week where a woman she knew got the job over her - despite failing the maths test she had passed - she claims this is discrimination similar to racism or disablism.

Apprentice star Katie Hopkins argued that she wouldn't employ anyone who was obese, and if someone suspected they were being judged negatively for their size, it is their responsibility to act and lose weight.

Figures recently published by the Department of Work and Pensions showed that more than 7,000 Britons are too fat to work. Last year, this cost the taxpayer more than £28 million in benefit payments.

Case for: Chemistry

It’s simply naïve to think of obesity as a product of doughnut-gobbling greediness. An individual’s propensity to put on fat is largely determined by genes, and losing weight is made far harder for an obese person as the chemistry in their body changes dramatically. The brain, for example, seems to stop responding  to Leptin, the hormone that signals fullness. And since obesity is overwhelmingly a product of man’s biology being ill-suited to modern lifestyles, what right do employers have to punish those who are obese? None. At least, no more than they can punish someone addicted to smoking.

Case against: Image

Whether we like it or not employers will take appearance into consideration when judging someone for a role. In some positions, being overweight would hinder productivity, and it is also more likely that the employee would suffer bad health and need to take time off. Presenting a positive corporate image is vital to success, and obesity can represent a lack of self-control. It is not the same as racism or disablism, and in cases where a health problem is not present, obesity can be acted on.

It is wrong for employers to discriminate against obese people

Read Next
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal  

What is 4Chan? And why does it threaten women like Emma Watson?

Memphis Barker
Chuka Umunna was elected MP for Streatham in 2010  

Could flirty Chuka Umunna be worth a punt for Labour’s top job?

Matthew Norman
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits