Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 159–176 | Cite as

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

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


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 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark V. Roehling
    • 1
    Email author
  • 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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