Weight Discrimination

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Weight Discrimination Attorney in the Workplace

Weight Discrimination Can Lead to a Disability Discrimination Claim in the Workplace.

Weight discrimination in the workplace runs rampant. Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. As a matter of fact, about 1/3 of Americans are considered morbidly obese. However, weight discrimination can relate to people dealing with obesity as well as people considered underweight.

No federal laws expressly prohibit weight discrimination. Thankfully, the EEOC, state, and local laws caught onto obesity and size discrimination issues. They realize other medical conditions relate to obesity. These issues can be considered disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act or other state laws.

Our experienced employment discrimination attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group understand that obesity is a life-long issue. It causes medical issues and psychological trauma. It should be treated as any other disability. If you experience weight discrimination in the workplace, you need an attorney that understands the medical issues related to weight. You need a lawyer that knows how to advocate on your behalf against such discrimination.

What is Discrimination Based on Weight?

Weight discrimination occurs when an employer, CEO, supervisor, manager, coworker, client, customer, or non-employee harasses an employee or job applicant or treats them unfairly because of their weight. You may experience wrongful termination, retaliation, denial of a promotion or project, or constant harassment.

The Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) recently released that severe obesity is considered a disability. People with severe obesity weigh two times the medically recommended body weight of a person of the same height.

Severe obesity is not the only disability encountered by victims of weight discrimination in the workplace. You may have other issues that are related to your weight or obesity concerns.

For instance, you may have:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Gout
  • Heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid problem
  • Any other medically diagnosed condition directly related to being overweight or underweight.

The ADAAA only recognizes severe obesity as a disability. However, the ADAAA also covers all the issues mentioned above. It also covers medically diagnosed illnesses and psychological issues which may affect your body weight or result from bodyweight issues.

If you are overweight or underweight with a medical health concern, you may have a claim for weight discrimination.

What Are Examples of Weight Discrimination at Work?

Some examples of weight discrimination in the workplace may include:

  • Your coworker constantly makes jokes about overweight people.
  • Your supervisor insists that you lose a few pounds before he allows you to work on an assignment.
  • Your employer’s company policy prohibits weight gains of 15 pounds or more for any employee.
  • Your CEO will not promote you because he feels you present the wrong image for the company.
  • Your coworker says he can break you like a twig and continues to make fun of your being so thin.
  • Your supervisor fired you because he thinks you will be unable to complete your work because of your weight.
  • Your supervisor refuses to give you a raise because he says you will use your money to buy more unhealthy foods.

What Are Your Rights Regarding Weight Discrimination?

Federal discrimination laws protect employees and job applicants from weight and obesity discrimination in the workplace if they relate to a covered medical condition. The ADAAA insists that an employer with 15 or more employees accommodate an employee’s disability within reason.

Your employer will have to accommodate your needs, such as:

  • Allow you to use the facilities as needed.
  • Allow you to attend doctor’s appointments within reason.
  • Allow you time to take medications when necessary.
  • Make sure seats, desks, and cubicles accommodate you and your size.
  • Provide other accommodations as appropriately requested.

In addition to accommodations, companies cannot fire you or retaliate against you because of your disabilities.

Several states also see obesity and severe obesity as their own disability. They are enacting laws that protect employees and job applicants from weight discrimination and harassment at work.

To learn more about whether your state has protections against weight discrimination or your weight-related disability is covered under federal laws, contact the employment discrimination lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group for a free consultation.

When Should You File Your Weight Discrimination Claim?

Filing a weight discrimination claim under the ADAAA means you should file your charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Under the EEOC, the statute of limitations to file your charge is 180 days. However, if you file in a state with a state-wide disability anti-discrimination law, the EEOC changes the time limit to file your claim to 300 days.

You may also choose to file your claim under your state’s laws. State law time limits vary. Consult a disability discrimination lawyer to determine the rules to filing your claim under your state’s laws.

What Remedies Are Available for Victims of Weight Discrimination?

When working with a weight discrimination attorney, you will want to know what you can expect to gain from your case. Courts may offer several forms of relief, including financial relief and orders for change from your employer.

Some remedies offered by the court include monetary relief, such as reimbursement for medical insurance premiums, payment of attorney’s fees and court costs, payment of lost wages, and money for pain and suffering and emotional distress. However, some remedies may be what’s known as injunctive relief (court-imposed actions). These remedies may include reinstatement of your job and changing company policies and procedures.

When Can You Expect Your Weight Discrimination Lawsuit to Settle?

No two weight discrimination lawsuits are the same. Therefore, there is no guarantee that any weight discrimination case will settle quickly. In some cases, employers may wish to end the lawsuit before it even starts.

Your attorney may call your employer to tell them of the impending charge, sparking your employer to offer a fair settlement. If you reach an agreement before filing your charge, you can walk away from the situation with a settlement within a few months.

However, it is more common that your employer will begin negotiating a settlement after your claim is filed. Depending on their willingness to offer a fair settlement, you may settle your case within a year of filing the claim.

However, if your employer refuses to negotiate fairly or insists on going to trial, your case may take years to settle. The truth is you may never settle the claim. Instead, your employer may force you to wait until the court enters a final judgment, which may take several years.

How Can an Employment Discrimination Lawyer Help Your Weight Discrimination Case?

Weight discrimination creates a tricky legal circumstance. The laws specifically target extreme obesity and other medical concerns that may lead to weight issues. Therefore, you need an attorney who can help you decipher your claim’s details to determine the best way to file your claim.

A well-qualified discrimination lawyer can help you draft your charge to ensure your case meets the confines of the law. Your lawyer gives you the opportunity to have your case heard instead of immediately dismissed as irrelevant and unfounded.

Furthermore, your attorney can help prepare you for the entire process, including depositions and testimonies. They can guide you on how to respond to questions, when to respond, and what your rights under the law may be.

Finally, your lawyer can help you request the damages you need and want from the courts. Your demand letter, under the advice of your attorney, will request the exact financial and injunctive remedies you believe will help you move on from the situation.

Contact Our Experienced Weight Discrimination Attorneys for Your Free Consultation

Weight issues are hard enough without dealing with the blatant harassment and discrimination in your workplace. You deserve a work environment where you are noticed for your work product and work ethic.

The experienced weight discrimination lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group understand the importance of your rights. We will help you fight for them.

Were You the Victim of Weight Discrimination in Your Workplace? Do You Want to Know More About Your Rights Under Federal and State Laws? Please Call Us at 800.807.2209 or Email derek@dereksmithlaw.com for Answers to Your Questions.

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