Stop Employment Discrimination Now! Equal Employment Opportunities For Everyone!

equalEveryone has the right to equal employment opportunities. Unfortunately a lot of people were denied jobs because they are different. An employer cannot discriminate against a worker due to their membership in a protected class. Characteristics of a protected class are:

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  • race color
  • national origin
  • sex
  • religion
  • age
  • disability
  • pregnancy
  • sexual orientation (in some states and cities)

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Weight Discrimination: Obesity Is More Than Just Health Problems

Obese individuals discrimination. Isn’t that illegal? Do we have laws protecting against weight discrimination?

A recent Wall Street Journal article, entitled: Weigh More, Pay More on Samoa Air, reports that a tiny South Pacific airline is pioneering a radical pricing model that no other airline has dared to try: charging passengers based on their weight.

Samoa Air customers flying on short international distances are set to pay US $ 0.92 per kilogram for each flight.

According to the World Health Organization, about 55.5% of the country’s population over the age of 20 is considered obese, what explains why passenger weight is the matter of great importance for Samoa Air, which operates with smaller planes that seat between three and 10 passengers each. That means a grossly fat passenger could essentially reduce a plane’s capacity, which in its turn could cause a loss of company’s income.

“We are like a shopkeeper; we are selling weight. But with the weight goes the responsibility of being able to seat the passenger comfortably,” said Samoa Air Chief Executive Chris Langton to The Wall Street Journal. He paid attention to the fact that while a 160-kilogram person on Samoa Air will pay four times as much as a 40 kilogram person, the airline would ensure more space for the bigger passenger.

The change caused heated discussion on Samoa Air’s Facebook page, where many called for a boycott of the airline based on discrimination. There were others who absolutely commended the company for its decision on charging by weight.

While Samoa Air could wake up the profit-starved industry, many of the world’s airlines have so far been hesitating to gain advantage from passenger weight because of discrimination concerns.

There is no doubt that a great number of Americans are obese. According to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2012, a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health, half of all American adults are expected to be obese by 2030.before

The social consequences of obesity include discrimination in employment, barriers in education, biased attitudes from health care professionals, stereotypes in the media, and stigma in interpersonal relationships.

As most cases involving weight are employment discrimination cases, and many of them are unsuccessful, in an article by Donna Ballman entitled: Is Weight Discrimination At Work Illegal?, are reported the top ways you might be protected under the law against discrimination if you’re overweight:

1. Disability DiscriminationThe Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees from discrimination due to disabilities. EEOC considers morbid obesity to be a protected disability. If your life activity is essentially limited because of your weight, then you may be protected against discrimination.

Overweight people who are not “morbidly obese” but who experience weight discrimination cannot file claims under the ADA because they are not considered disabled. These unresolved issues, along with public perceptions that blame obese people for their own negative experiences, result in inconsistent court rulings and deter other overweight people from seeking legal recourse at all.

2. Sex Discrimination – Very often, women are expected to be slim but men aren’t. If your employer is holding women to different standards than men (or vice versa) then they may be guilty of sex discrimination.

3. Family and Medical Leave – If you need medical treatment because of your weight problems, you may be protected for days you miss work under the Family and Medical Leave Act. You can get protected leave for each of your doctor’s appointments, for up to a total of 12 weeks per year. You can use both intermittent and continuous FMLA leave as your doctor requires.

4. State and Local Laws – Very few, but nevertheless, some states and municipalities have limitations on appearance or weight discrimination (for example, Michigan has a state law).

However, if you are in none of the protected categories above, that all changes, and you have to fight your battles alone. Despite increased attention to the obesity epidemic, little has been done to stop the discrimination that obese people face every day. No federal laws exist to prohibit bullying and harassment against obese people. Many forms of discrimination are perfectly legal.

However, some of these “legal” kinds of discrimination may also have an illegal effect. Try to look around and see if what’s happening is really about sex, race, age, disability, pregnancy, national origin, or some other type of illegal discrimination.

Obesity is an extremely complex condition and it’s going to require many different solutions.

Gender equality for better future

In a recent Yahoo News article entitled: Sex discrimination hampers poverty button: UN’s Ban is stated that discrimination against women impedes progress in alleviating world poverty and costs Asia-Pacific economies tens of billions of dollars a year, United Nations Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon said.

“Gender discrimination blocks progress. Equality makes it possible to achieve huge breakthroughs,” Ban told an international meeting for young female leaders during a visit to his native South Korea.

According to Ban, the lack of women’s empowerment affects individual women’s rights and it holds back whole countries.

He says that helping women is crucial to achieving the Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction by 2015.

Women worked harder and for less money than men and a lot of girls were shut out of primary schools. Two-third of the 780 million people in the world who cannot read are women.

Ban claims that a woman dies every 90 seconds from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth, so he is heading a global movement to end these needless deaths.

“We are moving on all fronts to invest in women so they can reach their full potential, drive development and lead us to a better future,” Ban said.