Employment law specialist calls for an end to ‘fattism’

A specialist judge and university professor call for new legislation to protect larger workers

A British judge specialising in employment law has called for the end of discrimination against larger people in the workplace.

Judge Philip Rostant published a piece in the Modern Law Review journal describing the challenges faced by larger people who suffer from prejudice on a daily basis. He called for a new law to be introduced which would enable workers with a larger figure to more easily sue any colleagues who insult them because of their weight.

The academic paper, co-written with Sheffield University professor of law, Tamara Hervey, reminds readers of the Equality Act of 2010, which protects workers who suffer discrimination because of their race, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, and religion, but not workers who suffer at work because of their weight.

The paper, titled ‘All About that Bass? Is Non‐Ideal Weight Discrimination Unlawful in the UK?’, states: “This situation leaves a gap in the law, which is remediable only by legislative reform.”

The new legislation should offer protection to workers of a “non-ideal weight”, who find themselves prejudiced against in their workplace and when applying for a new position, claim Judge Rostant and Professor Hervey.

According to the authors, larger people are often denied a job position due solely to their weight and also receive less pay on average than their thinner counterparts. This is often due to an employer’s “attitudinal assumptions” that larger people “are insufficiently self-motivated to make good employees”.

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