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Old 07-21-2009, 05:28 AM   #1
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Default Fat And Job/career Discrimination

I've searched to see if a thread like exists but havnt found one - if there was already a discussion around this please point me in the right direction.

That said:A friend recently told me about her older sister who is a simply gorgeous fat girl - who I'd guess weighs about 200kilos - who recently got turned down for a job as a beautician because, and this was said to her face, she's too fat. The argument made by this horror of a prospective employer was that her boutique sells a certain kind of beauty and fat is simply not it so how can one of her employees be fat, it would go against everything she sells. I was horrified by this and since being on Dims have read a few other references to fat people not getting employed, not getting promoted etc because of their weight. Has this happened to you? What did you do? Surely, surely this is illegal and is in fact discrimination and counter to the constitution?? What kind of legal solutions can people who have been subjected to this pursue? I don't know if I've never gotten a job cos I'm a fattie but just hearing about these horror stories makes me almost breathlessly angry
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:54 AM   #2
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Oh yes I have had it happen. First as a teen when I wanted to go get a job with my friend at the Local A&W as a car hop. I was told I was too fat for that but could flip burgers in the back unfortunately they had no open positions for that.
I ran our local arts centre for our city for a good number of years. It was under our Parks and Recreation Department and all the managers were thin, sports minded people. My boss I had to take to mediation twice because of harassment and I heard all the time I didn't fit the image of the department, diet suggestions, comments on clothes, my kids weight etc. I was stuck in my job to support the family as my husband was going through a series of job losses during that time and when I tried to apply for other jobs I suspect I was not getting a good reference. I would get the final interview then not get the position. I had to fight for a leave of absence to go back to school to get the extra education they said I needed in order to get promoted. When I returned they wouldn't give me a promotion but wanted me to use my education to train other staff in the department for free! WTF I wasn't good enough to get a full time job but I could train those people in positions I wanted? I refused and persisted through the union and was promoted after 17 years to a full time job running the recreation centre. As well oversaw the operations of our summer playground program. I ended up being demoted on some trumped up excuses (despite having a log book that proved the job had been done properly) and sent back to the Arts Centre working part time. At that time I quit and took my current job where I am respected and treated well getting awards and recognition for my hard work. It is in the Recreation centre that I ran for a time and my old boss was frosted to see my name on the door of my own office and hearing new boss say how great I was when she tried to discredit me with the current boss.There are fat haters in the staff that work under me(I am the Assistant to the Executive director) but I do my utmost to prove them wrong by being physical with the kids in all our activities. And while I do hear the diet comments and comments about weight with some of the kids we deal with, as well as other staff, they know I will not put up with that kind of treatment for the kids or staff and usually back off when confronted.
I do get tired as I have mentioned before at almost 46 of being judged merely for the size of my body rather than all I have become and will let people know its not acceptable with this fat chick.
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Old 07-21-2009, 07:31 AM   #3
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OMG Ruffie! I'm so proud of you for not taking their BS! I swear this really, really shocks me - that people actually believe they have a right to limit even your income cos you're bigger than they are! You keep doing your thing chick!
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:05 PM   #4
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Wow! i have not yet had this happen to me and im shocked that it even does oddly enough.I work as a make up artsit for Lancome Paris.My size is not at all an issue.Way to not take their shit Ruffie!Kudos!
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:46 PM   #5
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I can't think of a time i wasn't discriminated against employment wise due to my weight. I worked as a nursing assistant before it became mandatory for lumbar support gear, transfer belts, lifts, hoists etc.Being a 300 lb girl at the time , I always got the mens wards when there were no male aides because they assumed with my weight i could lift em with no problem. I worked in grocery stores and was usually the one who got to move the heavy crates and boxes while my thinner coworkers got to run the register. I went to nursing school and had one instructor make my life a living hell because she hated fat people and could not imagine i would make a good nurse. When i say she made it hell i mean she would complain at the weekly meetings that i smelled, that i sweated too much and she was afraid i would fall over on one of my patients. She would give me the hardest cases trying to break me. I stayed tough but finally at one weekly meeting i broke down while listening to her criticisisms and recommendations that i be dropped from the program. When that happened the other instructors were outraged at her behavior and pulled me from her clinical rotation and i finished at the top of the class and when we had our graduation she was the one that shook our hands as we got out certificates. Well i took my certificate and walked right by her outstretched hand and back to my seat. Throughout my nursing career i had to prove myself more than others,i did not get hired at some places due to my weight, i dealt with a lot of shit from people who just did not like fat people. I had lab specimans tampered with to make me look incompetent, complaints on my work, just all around horrible experiences. In each case i stood up for me, i even threatened to sue some of my detractors, but honestly i am not sorry to be out of that enviornment. It is tiring defending yourself day after day and knowing that no matter what you do, its never going to be good enough.
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by cinnamitch View Post
I can't think of a time i wasn't discriminated against employment wise due to my weight. I worked as a nursing assistant before it became mandatory for lumbar support gear, transfer belts, lifts, hoists etc.Being a 300 lb girl at the time , I always got the mens wards when there were no male aides because they assumed with my weight i could lift em with no problem. I worked in grocery stores and was usually the one who got to move the heavy crates and boxes while my thinner coworkers got to run the register. I went to nursing school and had one instructor make my life a living hell because she hated fat people and could not imagine i would make a good nurse. When i say she made it hell i mean she would complain at the weekly meetings that i smelled, that i sweated too much and she was afraid i would fall over on one of my patients. She would give me the hardest cases trying to break me. I stayed tough but finally at one weekly meeting i broke down while listening to her criticisisms and recommendations that i be dropped from the program. When that happened the other instructors were outraged at her behavior and pulled me from her clinical rotation and i finished at the top of the class and when we had our graduation she was the one that shook our hands as we got out certificates. Well i took my certificate and walked right by her outstretched hand and back to my seat. Throughout my nursing career i had to prove myself more than others,i did not get hired at some places due to my weight, i dealt with a lot of shit from people who just did not like fat people. I had lab specimans tampered with to make me look incompetent, complaints on my work, just all around horrible experiences. In each case i stood up for me, i even threatened to sue some of my detractors, but honestly i am not sorry to be out of that enviornment. It is tiring defending yourself day after day and knowing that no matter what you do, its never going to be good enough.
I'm so sorry you went through that Isn't it awful how some people seem to live to make others miserable. Good on you for not letting it get you down *hugz*
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Old 07-22-2009, 04:14 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=kittencat;1231490]Wow! i have not yet had this happen to me and im shocked that it even does oddly enough.I work as a make up artsit for Lancome Paris.My size is not at all an issue.Way to not take their shit Ruffie!Kudos![/QUOT

Oooooooo! Make-up!!!
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:20 AM   #8
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Wow! i have not yet had this happen to me and im shocked that it even does oddly enough.I work as a make up artsit for Lancome Paris.My size is not at all an issue.Way to not take their shit Ruffie!Kudos!
I just got a call-back from Macy's to work for Lancome...I hope I get the job...I love makeup!

I've had some discrimination over my size in the past. It sucks for sure, but I just worked extra hard to prove that "fat" does not equal "lazy, stupid, and unhealthy".
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Old 07-23-2009, 06:51 PM   #9
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I've been lucky in that I haven't experienced size discrimination on the jobs I do get. Interviewing tho is another matter. I have however experienced racial discrimination on the job. Sucks.
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:09 PM   #10
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oh i hope you get it!Lancome is the best!good product very innovative and fun to play around with and you get free make up for Gratis!

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Old 07-26-2009, 12:57 PM   #11
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I'm fortunate to live in a state where weight was [accidentally] put into a hiring anti-discrimination law.

Of course, it doesn't mean it still doesn't happen. All sorts of prejudices arise in the minds of those hiring. They just don't normally say it to your face. Still, having some protection keeps those hiring on alert that it's not okay.
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Old 07-26-2009, 01:17 PM   #12
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I watched Drop Dead Diva last night and I was surprised to find the episode was about workplace discrimination. A woman was fired from a nightclub for having gained 50lbs, and the main character, Lawyer Jane argued well I think and won the case. She pointed out to the jury how is just isn't fair for the club owner to set up and monetize a standard of beauty that is difficult for most people to attain. She said it was unfortunate that the labor laws in this country do not protect size as a class in every state and it's true. She also deals with that prejudice as a lawyer which was interesting to watch. Perhaps now these kind of issues will start to be taken seriously or at the very least it will make more people aware of what we go thru and maybe there will be a day when size will be protected on a federal level.
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Old 07-26-2009, 04:59 PM   #13
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When I started college, my major was Nursing, at first. After the first semester was when we applied to the actual School of Nursing within the University. This included having a physical. The Dean of the school called me in afterwards, and wanted to make my admission to the School contingent on losing weight, with her personally "advising" and watching over me. After all, why would patients listen to health advice from a fat nurse? I wasn't quite 19 years old at the time, and weighed about 260 lbs. Thinking back on it now just makes me mad, but at the time I was shy enough to just take it. After one more semester, I used my C's in Biology and Biochemistry as an excuse to change majors, and got my degree in Social Studies education instead.

Then more fun. Over the next 7 years I sent resumes all ove the state. I had great references from my cooperating teacher from my student teaching semester, and also from administrators at schools where I did some substitute teaching. I got lots of (face -to - face) interviews, and just as many rejection letters. I eventually was hired as a teacher at a residential treatment center, until burning out in that atmosphere. The principal that hired me was herself a BBW, and she gave me a chance that so many others wouldn't.

I'm no longer teaching, which is OK, with all the declining enrollment and other issues facing the schools. Currently my job in customer service pays far less than teaching, but I really like the place and the people. I'm also working on the export side of things, and that lets me use my social studies background.

So yes, I've definitely dealt with discrimination because of my weight, but I never let myself give up. Decent employers are out there who will look at your abilities. They're just not always the first - or second - or third ones we apply to.
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:40 AM   #14
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Thank you for sharing your stories ladies. It can't be easy looking back and knowing that people actually went out of their way to try and deny you a living because they objected to how you look. Like Olwen said I've also been discriminated against because of race, and that hurt more than I can even begin to say. Today, though, I found out that I didn't get a job as a features editor for a local, South African's womens' glossy when I applied about 2 years ago because, according to one of the selection panel I've just met for drinks, I was a shade too fat and foreign looking to be quite perfect for the job. The magazine printed something like two issues and then went under, which I am now fiercely satisfied about, but knowing that my skill, potential and hard work meant nothing against the fact that I was fat and 'too dark skinned' makes me feel like burning something down.
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Old 07-27-2009, 07:53 AM   #15
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My current job situation had fat discrimination BIG TIME. I've been employed by the YMCA for two years now, and when I went in to get a councilor job for summer camp, the camp boss said I 'wasn't qualified'... this after my best friend, the skinny tall one, with the same amount of experience working with kids got a high ranking job in camp. The boss told me I'd be better suited for the 4 hour a day before and after camp AKA two tiny short shifts sitting on my butt playing board games.

Jokes on her though. My before/after care boss recommended me for a councilor position when more kids joined up and now I'm getting more hours and trampling around the woods like a pro :P
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:35 PM   #16
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All the existing advice is excellent. What I’m contributing below is just a small add-on about my take on dealing with stereotypes.

Not everyone will have read your resume and/or covering letter before you walk into an interview, but you certainly hope that they have. To that end I think there is value in trying to counter stereotypes based on your appearance in those documents.

Specific to being a bigger person, in that annoying “Other Interests” section make sure to list anything active or healthy sounding that you actually do. In my case it is easy because I regularly bike to work and I down hill ski, so I list “urban cycling” and “down hill skiing” in there. But even if yours is yoga, or vegetarian cooking, or swimming, list it. In general they always say to use dynamic words in resumes and covering letters, but for a big person I’d say this is doubly important in any sort of personal description (maybe even in your career goal). “I’m seeking a fast moving, dynamic position as a….” type of language. Even if people just skim the documents, hopefully they pick up the general impression of you as an energetic, active, health conscious person, before they see you.

In the interview you obviously focus on your job qualifications, but like you make sure to pitch how well you’ll fit in and what a good employee you are, you try to also support those stereotype-counters. In my case near the end I ask if they have shower facilities, as I like biking to work and showering when I get there. But you could ask if they have any on-site fitness rooms or if they know if there is a fitness club nearby or whatever else you can think of. (although the shower question can be used for a lot of people, if you say like to take a brisk walk at lunch or something). You don’t want to go too far off track, but I think when countering a stereotype this can be worthwhile.

As a white male I don’t have a lot of other stereotypes to deal with, but I’ve switched jobs quite a bit in my career, for various reasons, so I often take the same approach there, emphasizing up front that I’m looking for a long term position with opportunities for growth. I think the same theory can be used for other stereotypes and issues too.
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Old 07-30-2009, 12:51 AM   #17
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I've never been openly discriminated against but lately I've been wondering if maybe I am facing this issue. I really, really try to stay away from accusing people of being racist, sexist, ageist, fat hating or what have you but this summer I've been trying to find a stable job and I've had a hell of a time and don't understand why. I am available to work any day of the week and any hour of the day, I have reliable transportation (own my own car), I'm 18 so I can use all equipment and have no restrictions on what hours I can work, I have a very flexible schedule once I return to school and will be staying in the area, I have a high school diploma, I always go to interviews on time and dressed professionally.. I honestly can't think of anything except the fat issue and possibly the facial piercings.. they definitely tend to throw people. A little teeny part of my mind wonders if maybe fat discrimination could be behind it though as much as I'd like to not blame it on that.

I'm currently waiting to hear back from Taco Bell and a local inventory company. Wish me luck because I certainly need it.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:22 AM   #18
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good luck!
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Old 07-30-2009, 02:43 AM   #19
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Good luck chick - hope it works out for you
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Old 07-30-2009, 06:45 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by thatgirl08 View Post
I've never been openly discriminated against but lately I've been wondering if maybe I am facing this issue. I really, really try to stay away from accusing people of being racist, sexist, ageist, fat hating or what have you but this summer I've been trying to find a stable job and I've had a hell of a time and don't understand why. I am available to work any day of the week and any hour of the day, I have reliable transportation (own my own car), I'm 18 so I can use all equipment and have no restrictions on what hours I can work, I have a very flexible schedule once I return to school and will be staying in the area, I have a high school diploma, I always go to interviews on time and dressed professionally.. I honestly can't think of anything except the fat issue and possibly the facial piercings.. they definitely tend to throw people. A little teeny part of my mind wonders if maybe fat discrimination could be behind it though as much as I'd like to not blame it on that.

I'm currently waiting to hear back from Taco Bell and a local inventory company. Wish me luck because I certainly need it.

Honestly, everyone is having a really hard time finding a job right now. For every job you've applied to there have probably been dozens of other applicants who are older and more experienced.

I'm going through the same thing right now and it sucks hard. But I very highly doubt it has anything to do with your weight.
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:44 PM   #21
thatgirl08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fffff View Post
Honestly, everyone is having a really hard time finding a job right now. For every job you've applied to there have probably been dozens of other applicants who are older and more experienced.

I'm going through the same thing right now and it sucks hard. But I very highly doubt it has anything to do with your weight.
Yeah, you're probably right honestly.

and thanks for the good lucks everyone:]
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