Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fat and the law

Clearly I'm naive. I had no idea that it is legal in most places in the U.S. to discriminate against people because of their size or weight.

One reader kindly sent me the text of Wisconsin's discrimination law, as an example:

Prohibited bases of discrimination. Subject to ss. 111.33 to 111.36, no employer, labor organization, employment agency, licensing agency or other person may engage in any act of employment discrimination as specified in s. 111.322 against any individual on the basis of age, race, creed, color, disability, marital status, sex, national origin, ancestry, arrest record, conviction record, membership in the national guard, state defense force or any reserve component of the military forces of the United States or this state or use or nonuse of lawful products off the employer's premises during nonworking hours.

Nothing in there about size or weight, which makes it one of those little discriminatory loopholes we'd love to close up.

As a child of the 1960s, my first impulse is to stage a sit-in. Luckily, there are already folks working on this in much more sophisticated ways. Paul over at Big Fat Blog reminds me about COFRA's Fat Fifty project, which will aim, once it's up and running, to put every state's discrimination statutes, fat-related court cases, and other info on record as a first step toward changing them.

What a great project. And it means I don't have to reinvent the wheel or picket the Wisconson state capitol. Yet.

Y'all get involved now.


Sage said...

I believe the only state with weight as a non-discriminatory status is Michigan. That is, I know it is illegal in Michigan, but I'm only partly sure it's the only state that does so.

Anonymous said...

I do have to say, I'm very grateful to live in Michigan as far as fat rights are concerned. I have a real suspicion that I don't have it as bad as most folks when it comes to actual institutional discrimination. On the other hand, if I lived in another state I could really throw in with some picketing! Of course I still could, but it's a bit of a drive to Madison.

Harriet said...

Well come on over anyway, jogeek! We can have a picket party.