Flying Fat

Size discrimination is alive and well in the New Zealand workplace. That’s finding from reader survey conducted by New Zealand Bella magazine which shows 87 percent of nearly 400 female respondents say employers have negative or preconceived ideas about plus-size people.
They believe bigger people are perceived by employers or potential employers as stupid, lazy, unhealthy and unattractive, says Bella editor, Moira Kennedy.
In spite of those attitudes, 51 percent earn an average $45,000 and 19 percent earn more than $55,000 per annum.
“Perhaps the most frightening result to come from the survey was that 46 percent reported fatist harassment in the workplace, not necessarily from employers. Fatist jokes and negative comments on people’s body shape and size appear to be rife in staff rooms nationwide.
“Many respondents avoided morning teas or special events with co-workers because they couldn’t have cracker and cheese without someone commenting on the calories it might contain, and how they might lose weight if they didn’t eat it,” says Kennedy.
“Others reported diet sheets and ads for weight loss anonymously placed in their in-trays and regular and ongoing comments from co-workers about breast sizes and fat backsides.”
The Human Rights Commission reports it has not received any formal complaints relating to size prejudice, which is not ground for unlawful discrimination in New Zealand.
Laws banning size discrimination are in effect in San Francisco and in British Columbia, Canada.

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