Fattism at work is still a prevalent problem

‘Fattism’ is alive and kicking in the workplace, according to new research.

A poll of more than 2,000 people by Slimming World and YouGov, has revealed that larger people are missing out on jobs because bosses assume they are ‘lazy’, ‘lack self-control’ and ‘are not hard workers’.

When overweight people do get a job, they are twice as likely to earn a low salary, four times more likely to suffer bullying about their weight, and six times more likely to feel their appearance has caused them to be overlooked for promotion, the study revealed.

Of the 227 bosses surveyed, one in four male managers said they would turn down a potential candidate based purely on their weight, and one in 10 admitted they have already done so.

Slimming World’s Man of the Year Roberto Enrieu, who shed 25 stone, said he was let go from his job as an IT consultant because his weight meant he didn’t fit the company’s image.

“My confidence was shattered and as a very overweight person looking for work I was faced with a huge amount of prejudice,” he said.

“When you carry that extra weight into interviews you take with it negative connotations that can be difficult to shake off. I lost all confidence in myself because, as good as my CV was, employers weren’t interested in working with someone of my size.”

Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s head of nutrition and research, said: “It’s unfortunate that only 16% of people who are obese feel supported by their work colleagues in their efforts to lose weight, and disappointing that one in four say they have suffered negative comments about their weight while at work.”

An exclusive Personnel Today survey of more than 2,000 UK-based HR professionals in 2005 revealed that almost half thought that obesity negatively affected employee output, with more than a quarter believing that obesity was becoming a problem in their industry.

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