Many people who are overweight or obese continue to face a great deal of discrimination, prejudice and bigotry in their daily lives. Sadly, much of our society fails to recognize obesity as a medical condition, and instead blames overweight individuals for being lazy or lacking willpower.
Unwarranted bias against obese individuals continues to be prevalent on the job. Weight discrimination in the workplace is a serious problem on Long Island and throughout the New York metro area. Unlike many people’s views regarding obesity, laws are evolving to protect overweight workers from discrimination at work and in the job market.
Being heavy does not prevent workers from being productive employees, even though they may need special accommodations in certain circumstances. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 extends legal protections to disabled obese workers in many situations.
Do you believe that you have been a victim of workplace weight discrimination? The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, can provide the help you need. If you have a valid workplace discrimination claim, our lawyers can help you file a claim with the proper agency and make sure deadlines are met. If your rights have been violated, we are here to see they are restored and that you receive the maximum compensation you deserve under the law.
Contact us for a free consultation today.
Employers unfairly discriminate against overweight workers in a number of ways, both in the hiring process and on the job. For example, an employer may pass over a qualified job applicant because the employer believes the applicant is too heavy. This may be based on unfounded concerns that the applicant would be unable to perform the job, presents the wrong “image” or is likely to take excessive sick leave.
Other examples include employers who choose not to promote – or choose to fire – obese workers based on discriminatory reasons. These and other adverse employment actions may be based on actual disabilities or a flawed perception that an overweight individual is unable to perform work duties.
Protections for overweight workers have been minimal in the past, and continue to be less robust today than protections enjoyed by other disabled workers. However, updates to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and interpretations of the law by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) do extend disability discrimination protections to some overweight workers, according to an article in the New York Times.
Workers with “severe” obesity – those who weigh twice the “normal” weight for their stature – may be considered “disabled” for purposes of the ADA. This means that employers cannot take adverse employment actions against an otherwise qualified “severely obese” worker if the worker can perform the job with reasonable accommodations.
There are indications that anti-discrimination laws may be more broadly applied to overweight workers as this area of law continues to develop. As public opinion becomes more supportive of the rights of obese workers, it is also possible that new laws will be enacted to prevent overweight individuals from suffering discrimination in the workplace.
Overweight workers who face discrimination in the workplace may also be able to bring an ADA claim based on another disability besides their weight. An experienced workplace discrimination attorney at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, can fully investigate your situation to determine if any workplace discrimination laws were violated.
If you believe you have suffered on-the-job discrimination due to your weight, you may be entitled to compensation from your employer. You should speak with an experienced Long Island workplace discrimination lawyer to find out whether you may have a valid claim. You may be entitled to recover lost wages, future losses (front pay) and compensatory damages, such as pain and suffering, physical injury, shock and discomfort, and mental anguish. In some cases, punitive damages may also be available.
If the employer has 15 or more employees and is covered by the federal ADA, your employer may be required to make reasonable accommodations for your disability due to obesity. For example, your employer may be required to install furniture with higher weight capacities, expand your cubicle, allow you to sit on a stool instead of stand, or make other accommodations.
If you are disabled by your weight – or have been perceived as disabled due to obesity – and believe you have been the victim of employment discrimination, the Long Island employment discrimination attorneys at Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, want to help. We have the skills, experience and resources you need on your side, and we are ready to aggressively and effectively fight employment discrimination, including weight discrimination in the workplace.
for an immediate, free case evaluation. If you have a valid claim, we can work with you to put together the documentation your case requires and help you file your claim with the appropriate authorities. We can also provide high-quality legal representation in a civil lawsuit for damages.
As an employee, you have rights, and the legal team at Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, is dedicated to ensuring that your rights are protected.