Is your Waist Line Affecting your Pay Check?
Obesity discrimination is something that many overweight and obese people have to face day in and day out, yet it doesn’t seem to get much attention in the mainstream. Overweight people face discrimination in every aspect of building a career, from hiring to promotions, pay allocation and even occupational discipline. This is something that many people eligible for a Lap Band in St. Petersburg may have personal experience with, and may even contribute to why you are planning to undergo weight loss surgery.
In an already rough economy, excess weight seems to be getting between highly-qualified individuals and their paychecks. Women are faring the worst on account of weight discrimination. An overweight woman carrying an excess of about 60 pounds is likely to experience a 9% wage reduction in comparison to a healthy-weight woman of the same race and educational background. Obese women on average make over six percent less annually than healthy-weight women, while obese men make just over two percent less.
Is there a reason for this pay cut?
Like other forms of discrimination, there is no justifiable reason for the wage differential. Too often, stereotypes of laziness or health concerns interfere in the workplace and leave overweight and obese people out of a job, or earning less than they deserve.
Being obese does increase your risk of health concerns, which could be a financial burden on an employer. Medical claims for 100 employees cost an average of $7,500 for non-obese workers, but for the obese this number increased to over $50,000. This is a significant difference in health care costs, and is often accompanied by increased need for time off due to medical concerns. This is no reason for employers to discriminate against the overweight, but instead should act as motivation for employers to encourage their employees to lose weight and engage in preventative health care measures.
What can you do?
There are a number of things that you can do to prevent wage discrimination from becoming an issue in your workplace. If you feel that your weight may affect a job interview, bring that up to your employer. This is often a hard thing for many people to do, but by showing self-awareness you may offset any predispositions your potential employer holds.
Traveling is often a concern for many obese patients. Requiring multiple seats or an extended seat belt on a plane adds expense to an already cost-heavy business trip. If you feel that your weight is interfering with your career mobility, then talk with your boss about it. Let them know about your weight loss efforts and see if attaining a healthier lifestyle would have any impact on your career.