Attitudes towards overweight employees is becoming a weighty issue

Home Articles ADVICE & GUIDANCE Attitudes towards overweight employees is becoming a weighty issue
a
office design e

Attitudes towards overweight employees is becoming a weighty issue, says Judge.

A leading judge has hit the headlines after suggesting that overweight employees should have the power to tackle “fattist” discrimination in the workplace.  In the UK almost 2 out of 3 adults are classed as being overweight or obese.  But is further legislation really needed?

Philip Rostant, a judge specialising in employment law, warned of the difficulties overweight employees face in the workplace highlighting that larger people are paid less on average than their thinner colleagues and are often overlooked for promotion to the false assumption that an obese worker may be “lazy”. Extending the Equality Act to cover “fattism” would mean the use of abusive terms or refusing to employ people because of their weight would result in the same kind of penalties as discriminating against ethnic minorities and LGBT people.

As it stands, being overweight, or even obese, is not in itself a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Equality Act of 2010, which outlaws discrimination against people because of age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and disability. Currently, overweight people are only protected by the Act if they can prove they are disabled.

That does not mean that employers don’t have a duty of care to treat overweight employees fairly. If an employee is constantly subject to cruel remarks by colleagues, and the employer fails to take action, a claim can be made should the employee develop depression or anxiety.  Further, passing over someone for promotion or paying an employee less than their due their size could lead to constructive dismissal claims in the right circumstances.

All employers should strive towards building a workplace where all employees feel respected and valued.  After all a happy employee is a productive employee, regardless of what the size of their waistband says.

Share:
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Social Media

Latest Posts

RIDDOR Landing page v x

What are RIDDOR Regulations & What are Employer’s Responsibilities for RIDDOR Reportable Incidents?

Firstly many people ask what RIDDOR means, RIDDOR stands for reporting injuries diseases, and dangerous occurrences. Accidents at work can happen, even with the best …

An Employer Guide to Disciplinary Action and Police Investigations

An Employer’s Guide to Disciplinary Action and Police Investigations

Without wishing to delve too heavily into the current (alleged) political shenanigans, there has been much discussion about the announcement of an investigation by the …

covid vaccine 800x296 1

Your Complete Guide to Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccinations

Earlier this month the government announced that The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 amendment had been passed by Parliament. The …

working from home

Can employers adjust sick pay for unvaccinated workers?

Can employers adjust sick pay for unvaccinated workers? There has been a lot of media coverage recently about various companies who are reducing sick pay …

working from home

Working from home: FAQs for employers

This week the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced the implementation of Plan B of its COVID-19 winter response due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases …

On Key

Related Posts