If you are fired from your job, it can be upsetting. When you believe that you were fired from your job because of your size or weight, it might also be discriminatory in nature. The employment law attorneys at Swartz Swidler advocate for people who have been the victims of unlawful discrimination and can explain whether your termination was unlawful.
What is weight discrimination?
Under federal law, weight discrimination may fall under a couple of different types of anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Weight discrimination that is prohibited may be disability discrimination or evidence of other forms of discrimination such as gender discrimination.
Discrimination based on being overweight
While there has been progress in civil rights in the past 50 years, being overweight or obese is still stigmatized. This is frequently due to the misconception that obese people are too lazy to do anything about their weight or that they are responsible for their own conditions. These types of stereotypes are harmful to overweight people. While only Michigan specifically prohibits discrimination based on weight, some discrimination laws in other states may be able to offer legal protections.
When is obesity a disability?
For people to have claims of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act, they must qualify as disabled. For obese people, their weight must be based on an underlying medical condition and limit a major activity of life such as walking unassisted for short distances. Because of these restrictions, many obese people will not be protected by the ADA.
When employees are able to prove that their obesity is a disability, their employers may be prohibited from terminating them based on their weight unless the employers follow the ADA. Under the act, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to their employees unless doing so would place an undue financial burden on the employers.
Evidence of other forms of discrimination
Weight discrimination may also be evidence of another form of discrimination. For example, employers that have different standards for women and men for their weight could be considered to be evidence of sex or gender discrimination.
Contact Swartz Swidler
If you have been fired from your job because of your weight, it might have been discriminatory, depending on the circumstances. To learn more about your potential claim, call Swartz Swidler today.