What You Should Know about Workplace Weight Bias

Workplace Weight Bias Issue

It is a fact of life that there is workplace weight bias occurring.

Weight bias refers to the discrimination that obese people face in different aspects of life, such as education, employment, and healthcare. Weight bias holds particular significance owing to the fact that obesity is on the rise in the U.S. and more people are therefore becoming victims of weight bias.

Workplace Weight Bias

Workplace weight bias refers to the discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes faced in the office by individuals who are obese or overweight.

Hiring Practices

Workplace weight bias include discriminatory or unfair hiring practices, which means that people who are thinner are more likely to be hired than individuals who are overweight, even if they have superior qualifications.

Promotional Practices

This may also take the form of obese employees facing discrimination in the organizational promotion practices, which means that slimmer employees are given preference in promotion. This is owing to the fact that obese employees are viewed as less productive compared to the thinner employees in the organization.

Lower Wages

Examples of this type of bias also include lower wages, which means that employees who are overweight earn less as compared to employees who are not. Women who are obese are reported to earn 6-percent less than women who are not obese. Similarly, men who are obese earn 3-percent less than employees who are thin do.

Subjected to Harsh Discipline

Employees who are obese may also be subjected to harsher discipline from their employers as compared to thinner employees, which means that they may face prejudice and bias from the employer due to their obesity. Often, the obese employees are also the subject of stereotyping and are perceived as less productive, less motivated, lazier, and less competent compared to non-obese employees.

Demotion and Termination Practices

Workplace weight bias may also take the form of unfair termination of these employees from their jobs since the obese employees may be suspended, fired, and even demoted owing to their obesity, despite demonstrating good performance at their job. They may face discrimination at work owing to their obesity even though weight may be a factor that has no relation to their job responsibilities. Obese people may also face negative remarks from their colleagues and may be assigned less-challenging and less-important tasks than are thinner employees.


Employees who face workplace weight bias are at a risk of developing serious emotional, psychological, and health-related problems. It is worth mentioning here that obesity may be reinforced in these employees owing to the discrimination and prejudice faced by them at the workplace.

Workplace bias thus affects the obese employees negatively and is detrimental to their emotional and psychological health, apart from their overall well-being.

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