Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 159–176

Sex Differences in Perceived Weight-Based Employment Discrimination When Weight Discrimination is Illegal

  • Mark V. Roehling
  • Patricia V. Roehling
  • Maria Fernanda Wagstaff

DOI: 10.1007/s10672-013-9217-y

Cite this article as:
Roehling, M.V., Roehling, P.V. & Wagstaff, M.F. Employ Respons Rights J (2013) 25: 159. doi:10.1007/s10672-013-9217-y


The reported study explores sex differences in both overt and subtle forms of perceived weight discrimination in employment using original data from a telephone survey of 1,010 randomly selected residents of Michigan, the only U.S. state with a law prohibiting weight discrimination. Sex differences in the experience of overt forms of weight discrimination (e.g., refusing to hire a person) that have been consistently found in other work and non-work settings were not found in this unique legal context. However, overweight women reported experiencing subtle forms of weight discrimination (e.g., verbal harassment, exclusion from social activities) to a significantly greater extent than men. Implications for employers’ discharge of their responsibilities and for policy makers’ consideration of greater legal protection against weight discrimination are discussed.


Weight discrimination Employer responsibilities 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark V. Roehling
    • 1
  • Patricia V. Roehling
    • 2
  • Maria Fernanda Wagstaff
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Human Resources and Labor RelationsMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyHope CollegeHollandUSA
  3. 3.The University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

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