Weight Discrimination: The Issue of the Future?

Weight Discrimination AttorneysWhat do you think of when you think “employment discrimination?” The major civil rights victories of the 1960s are characteristically thought of as racial battles. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was seen largely as a victory for Americans of color. The Act was preceded in 1963 by the Equal Pay Act, which sought to guarantee equal pay for women. Both laws include broad, sweeping reform in terms of race, gender, nationality and religion.
In the 2010s, it appears as if new civil rights issues are finally culminating in American culture, especially the legal system. This coming election will be key to the future of gay rights, the most talked about social issue of the day.
One other civil rights issue is emerging, however, that was rarely spoken of in the 1960s: obesity. With claims of discrimination based on weight and size on the rise, what’s the future of civil rights for overweight Americans?

Is it Legal to Discriminate Based on Weight?

Currently, there are no laws on the books which protect the obese from discrimination. However, it is becoming common to use the Civil Rights Act of 1991 as a platform for obesity rights. The law opens the possibility for obesity-related discrimination cases along several metrics. For instance, if an individual was discriminated against, and his/her obesity is disease-related, then illegal discrimination may have taken place. Obesity discrimination may or may not be race related in some cases, as obesity rates are statistically higher among Latinos and African Americans.

Did Title VII Leave Obese Individuals Out?

There’s no question that obesity is on the rise in the United States. There’s very little question that popular culture in the U.S. glorifies the skinny, the healthy, and the glamorous. It is profoundly ironic to see advertisements for popular fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and Carl’s Jr. featuring supermodels with hamburgers—and it is profoundly illustrative of America’s double standard in terms of exploitation of–and discrimination against–the obese.

The Exception to the Rule

One state in the Union protects against obesity-related discrimination: Michigan. Conversely, the state also passed a law protecting fast food restaurants from being sued over obesity. Other states are known to have considered enacting laws protecting the obese.
If you feel you have been discriminated against because of your weight, especially in the realm of employment, you should consider your legal options. Call the law offices of Valli Kane & Vagnini today for a free consultation.

Does Lack of State Level Prohibition Allow Discrimination in Texas?

Texas civil rights and discrimination attorneys point out areas in the law where Texas civil rights and discrimination protection falls through the cracks. Discrimination may have different motivations such as race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation and disability. Texans are not all protected equally when it comes to civil rights violations and protection from discrimination. Examples include:
Public Accommodations
gender discrimination texasMost people agree that public accommodations should be free from policies that discriminate. Texas has no statewide law prohibiting such discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical handicap. Some local governments have passed ordinances prohibiting discrimination in public places. This has resulted in confusion as to what is legal from one municipality to the next. Texas civil rights and discrimination attorneys claim this highlights the need for statewide legislation.
Discrimination in the Workplace
workplace discrimination texasAccording to state law in Texas, civil rights in the workplace exist in many areas including employees’ race, age, gender, religion, national origin or disability. However, Texas civil rights and discrimination state law does not extent to sexual orientation. Texas civil rights and discrimination attorneys maintain that policies that favor non-discrimination are good business.
Discrimination in Education
education discrimination texasAccording to Texas civil rights and discrimination laws there are no specific prohibitions stopping a public educational institution from discriminating on account of race, ethnicity, color, gender, disability, sexual orientation, disability, religion or national origin of the student or the parent of the student. There are laws in place prohibiting student on student harassment covered under bullying codes. However, there are no similar laws covering discrimination and harassment originating from employees of the educational institution.
Discrimination from Insurance Companies
employment discrimination texasInsurance companies are prohibited from discrimination because of race, ethnicity, color, gender, disability, marital status, disability, religion, geographic location or national origin. However, Texas civil rights and discrimination laws make no provision for the prohibition based on sexual orientation and sexual identity. This discrimination can take form of higher rates, refusal to insure, limited coverage, extent of coverage and nature of coverage.
Since in Texas, civil rights and discrimination protection does no extent to sexual orientation and transgender people when it comes to insurance coverage, many insurance companies deny coverage for procedures related to transgender and sexual orientation issues.  Many are refused coverage for procedures because of their transgender and sexual orientation status and are required to put off the procedure or pay for it out of pocket when it should have covered by the insurance premium to begin with.