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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Mark V. Roehling.

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The reported research was supported by funding from the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.

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Roehling, M.V., Roehling, P.V. & Wagstaff, M.F. Sex Differences in Perceived Weight-Based Employment Discrimination When Weight Discrimination is Illegal. Employ Respons Rights J 25, 159–176 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10672-013-9217-y

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Keywords

  • Weight discrimination
  • Employer responsibilities