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TOPIC: Obesity: A Protected Class?

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August 31, 2012 5:56 AM
Since I work in H.R., I have to deal with various cases dealing with discrimination, harrassment, violence in the workplace, etc.... Historically, courts had found that obesity is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only when it has a physiological cause. However, recently the court has ruled otherwise and Michigan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have laws that expressly make weight a protected class like women and minorities are.

With the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S. (more than one-third of the U.S. adults approx. 35.7% and approx. 17% of children and adolescents) and those numbers expected to rise, do you think it is fair to place them in a protected class? I personally think that obesity is something most, not all, people can change. You can't change that you were born a female or that you are Black, Hispanic, etc... or that you are blind, have cerebral palsy....I think you get my point.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way criticizing obese people. I believe in health and wellness and there are too many facts and research to share on here to support my belief.
  6101596
August 31, 2012 6:02 AM
No.
August 31, 2012 6:18 AM
QUOTE:

Save The Whales!!!!!!! Just another sub group of lazy Americans. I am sick of all these special groups seeking special privileges or dispensation at the expense of the rest of us. If there is a problem, never fear....the general government will make it right. NOT! They will just make it worse. I would bet you a majority of these fat-asses are buying their food with their government issued EBT card. Ever been on a plane next to one of these people? Keep your fat in your seat please and don't let it ooze over on me. Better yet, buy the whole row. Sorry to be mean or insensitive but when is it going to stop??


You are entitled to your opinions and I am entitled to think that you are a flaccid ****!
August 31, 2012 6:21 AM
QUOTE:

I personally think that obesity is something most, not all, people can change. You can't change that you were born a female or that you are Black, Hispanic, etc... or that you are blind, have cerebral palsy....I think you get my point.


Technically a healthy born baby would be obese (:

But no they shouldn't be protected, no one should be protected, where is equality?
August 31, 2012 6:23 AM
Image not displayed
August 31, 2012 6:23 AM
QUOTE:

Save The Whales!!!!!!! Just another sub group of lazy Americans. I am sick of all these special groups seeking special privileges or dispensation at the expense of the rest of us. If there is a problem, never fear....the general government will make it right. NOT! They will just make it worse. I would bet you a majority of these fat-asses are buying their food with their government issued EBT card. Ever been on a plane next to one of these people? Keep your fat in your seat please and don't let it ooze over on me. Better yet, buy the whole row. Sorry to be mean or insensitive but when is it going to stop??


One of 'these people' huh? You are not sorry to be mean or insensitive, and people like you are part of the reason so many different classifications of people have to be protected.

OP - With the exception of obesity caused by medical/psychological factors, or for children, no, I don't believe it should be another protected class.
  5491015
August 31, 2012 6:23 AM
I think it's bull****. Physiologically I get, but if it's a result of poor decision making and not taking steps to better yourself, I think making them a protected class will only become a crutch.
August 31, 2012 6:23 AM
No, I don't agree with it. Like the OP said, there are things you cannot change about youself, but *most of the time* weight is something that something can be done about.
People need to stop making excuses, get off their bottoms, and start living a healthy lifestyle. Period.
August 31, 2012 6:24 AM
Definitly a touchy subject in this place.
The problem is that no judge can determine whether or not this person in question (that is obese and having issues) has made an effort to prevent becoming obese or efforts to reverse their current state of obesity. Well, that would be another investigation on its own.

I know people who are naturally obese.... and still make an effort to eat balanced and exercise. I pity these people and for them, it is something that they are born with.

I also know people who are unnaturally obese, suffer multiple health problems and don't make an effort to eat balanced nor exercise....which irritates me!!!
So, how do you determine this without having to go through a huge investigation?
August 31, 2012 6:24 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Save The Whales!!!!!!! Just another sub group of lazy Americans. I am sick of all these special groups seeking special privileges or dispensation at the expense of the rest of us. If there is a problem, never fear....the general government will make it right. NOT! They will just make it worse. I would bet you a majority of these fat-asses are buying their food with their government issued EBT card. Ever been on a plane next to one of these people? Keep your fat in your seat please and don't let it ooze over on me. Better yet, buy the whole row. Sorry to be mean or insensitive but when is it going to stop??


You are entitled to your opinions and I am entitled to think that you are a flaccid ****!


Go Girl !
  3737885
August 31, 2012 6:25 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

I personally think that obesity is something most, not all, people can change. You can't change that you were born a female or that you are Black, Hispanic, etc... or that you are blind, have cerebral palsy....I think you get my point.


Technically a healthy born baby would be obese (:

But no they shouldn't be protected, no one should be protected, where is equality?


I agree that obesity should not be a disability and protected. We can all make changes. Also as an obese person trying to make the right changes I don't feel disabled at all. i Rather move my butt than get treated differently.
August 31, 2012 6:26 AM
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August 31, 2012 6:27 AM
While I'm not sure that I feel it is appropriate to place them in an official "protected class," as you are right, MOST people can change their situation, BUT...I am having a hard time thinking of another way to prevent obese people from being discriminated against, because I definitely feel that this should not be able to happen in any official capacity (jobs, access to places, etc.).
August 31, 2012 6:27 AM
QUOTE:

Technically a healthy born baby would be obese (:


Damn lazy fat babies
August 31, 2012 6:27 AM
Protected classes are there for that reason - to protect a class of people from discrimination due to things unrelated to the issue because it's been proven time and time again that people are judgmental and will do anything to protect the institutionalized norm. Equality is a great idea but it doesn't happen when you let real people make the decisions.

Does a person's obesity keep him from performing his job? As a bike courier, perhaps, but not as an accountant. I saw a rejection reason for a candidate by an HR company say that "He's old and overweight" (This is not in the USA, it is in a country where all kinds of discrimination happens and there are few laws against it and the ones that are there are not enforced...people have been considered for positions more than others because their light skin makes for "good presentation"). What does being overweight have to do with being an accountant? For fun, I checked out the candidate's Facebook profile, and he was maybe a little chubby but nothing extreme.

I think that people should give housing, job opportunities, etc. freely without regard to the way they look, the language they speak, the religion they profess, etc. but as long as folks in authority are going to be mean ****s then the government has to step in and tell them to play nice. If it weren't that way, there'd still be whites only signs on restaurants in my state.
Edited by maspicantexfa On August 31, 2012 6:29 AM
August 31, 2012 6:28 AM
I absolutely agree with you. I don't work in HR but I'm working on a BA in HR management, and soon to get an MBA in HR management.

I really feel that the ADA is too generalized at this point. As the laws are written now, nearly anyone could potentially find a way to be qualified for disability. It really should be limited to conditions that are beyond the individual's control. Also, if a condition is cured, then subsequently, the company should not continue to be liable under the ADA. I'm referring specifically to a case that I studied where a man who had leukemia and had been cured was subsequently fired a few weeks after he returned to work. Abnormal cell production was recognized as a disability under the amended ADA laws, but this individual was in remission and, therefore, at the time of his termination, was functioning normally.

Obesity should not be a protected class unless there is a physiological reason. The problem is that most people do not understand the difference. For example, my cousin lost her pituitary gland to a brain tumor. As a result, she is forced to take steroids to regulate her bodily functions. The natural side effect of taking steroids is weight gain. She was not an athlete, therefore, she amassed tremendous amounts of fat. Her obesity is a disability. Even if she were to become physically fit now, she would still be bulky. Obesity is not a choice for her. But for people who do not have physiological conditions that would prevent them from becoming physically fit, obesity is a choice... not a disability.

Just my thoughts.
  7030416
August 31, 2012 6:28 AM
QUOTE:

QUOTE:

Technically a healthy born baby would be obese (:


Damn lazy fat babies


All they do is sleep and eat and cry and poop. No cardio, no weight training. Leeches, the lot of them!
  5491015
August 31, 2012 6:28 AM
ilu thread
Edited by wellbert On August 31, 2012 6:43 AM
August 31, 2012 6:28 AM
I don't think it's as simple as that though.

Weight gain in the extreme is nearly always the symptom of a much bigger issue, be it mental health, physiological health or just plain poor education.

Without changes in those things the weight will not follow.

Maybe less judgement and more help is needed rather than "protecting" but then shouldn't ALL people's rights be protected? The states seem to have a massive stretch in the attitude of "I don't want to pay for THEM" whoever them are, it's here in the UK too but I think most people here recognise that we support those unable to support themselves because it's the right thing to do. Those who don't see this are in the minority despite what the daily mail will say. Obviously this is based upon my interactions with the US press, US based family and reading other peoples opinions on here, maybe just right wing america appear dominant on the interwebz lol.

Disclaimer: of course there are those who just don't want to change and sit watching biggest loser saying "I can't go to the gym because I'm on meds so I can't lose weight" (true story bro) but I'm going to guess even if you changed their attitude a bit the rest would follow.
  7003022
August 31, 2012 6:29 AM
QUOTE:

Since I work in H.R., I have to deal with various cases dealing with discrimination, harrassment, violence in the workplace, etc.... Historically, courts had found that obesity is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only when it has a physiological cause. However, recently the court has ruled otherwise and Michigan, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. have laws that expressly make weight a protected class like women and minorities are.

With the growing obesity epidemic in the U.S. (more than one-third of the U.S. adults approx. 35.7% and approx. 17% of children and adolescents) and those numbers expected to rise, do you think it is fair to place them in a protected class? I personally think that obesity is something most, not all, people can change. You can't change that you were born a female or that you are Black, Hispanic, etc... or that you are blind, have cerebral palsy....I think you get my point.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way criticizing obese people. I believe in health and wellness and there are too many facts and research to share on here to support my belief.


As a group, no. However, there are many times an overweight or obese person is judged and discriminated against simply due to their weight, when it shouldn't be a factor. I'm not talking about airline seats and that sort of thing, I'm talking about not getting a job or promotion because fat = perceived laziness. But that's a hard issue to discuss.

People have preconceptions about others for a variety of reasons, so you may have a candidate in a wheelchair and an obese person going for the same job ... the hiring manager knows they have to ensure they don't show bias against the wheelchair candidate because the law tells them that, but they are free to discount the obese person if they want, right? Neither is fair and I think that's why people are saying that obese people are the last group of folks it's "acceptable" to discriminate against. But I don't agree with being a protected class (but then again, I don't believe that for any group).
August 31, 2012 6:29 AM
Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this.

Do I think that a fat person should be discriminated against simply because they are fat? No.

But should they get government assistance if their obesity limits their ability to work, etc?...This is where the mixed feelings come in. It's not cut and dried for me and I just don't know how to break it down realistically.

And to the save the whales guy... trust me, we don't want you touching us either.
  7425918
August 31, 2012 6:29 AM
No, being obese is a choice ( in most cases). Thats not what a protective class is supposed to be for.
August 31, 2012 6:31 AM
No. Something that you control cannot be a disability. So now you can eat yourself into obesity and then have more protection than the person who takes care of their self. That situation should never exist.
  25599293
August 31, 2012 6:34 AM
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August 31, 2012 6:34 AM
No, should not be protected...period. At my employer people are complaining that we need benches for people to rest because the walk is too long!! WTF, really? I understand that some have an underlying disability which limits their mobility, but that can be combated with proper eating and staying out of the drive throughs!

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