If you think your weight is only keeping you from pulling on those leggings and knee-high boots, think again. It turns out it might also be keeping you from a job. Thirty-six percent of Australians admit they would be reluctant to hire an obese person, believing that the applicant’s girth would negatively affect performance. Potential clients would view the employee as sloppy, unprofessional and incapable of taking care of himself, and would thus be less likely to trust the company. And even if that weren’t an issue, the overweight person, simply because he’s overweight, would inevitably miss more days of work, rendered incapacitated by his fat. Or so employers think, and based on the findings in a recent UK study, they may be right – on the last part, at least.
Every year the British government doles out benefits to those who are incapable of working because of health. The reasons for incapacitation include depression, malaise, fatigue, eating disorders, giddiness, migraines, acne and, of course, obesity. Two thousand adults attribute their unemployment to their weight annually. They feel that their folds of flab make it impossible for them to adequately function in a work environment. The question is, is this a reasonable conclusion?
I’m sure that some of the incapacitated are morbidly obese, so much so that they are unable to complete basic daily tasks. However, this can’t hold true for all of them. Obesity, while an epidemic and legitimate health concern, is not cause for receiving benefits. You should not be paid because you are fat. You should be paid because you earned it or are otherwise actually incapable of doing so. The millions of obese people going to work every day and succeeding are enough to prove that the thousands not looking for employment and the employers refusing to employ have largely skewed perceptions of mass and productivity. Excess weight will limit you, yes. But it shouldn’t confine you to your home.