Research Handbook of Diversity and Careers
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Research Handbook of Diversity and Careers

Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden

This unique Research Handbook covers a wide range of issues that affect the careers of those in diverse groups: age, disability, gender, race, religion, sexuality and transgender, as well as appearance. International experts from a variety of backgrounds contribute chapters in their given fields, reviewing current thinking, practices, initiatives and developments within the field, as well as presenting a wide-ranging and holistic coverage of the topic.
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Chapter 6: Size does matter: the impact of size on career

Patricia V. Roehling, Mark V. Roehling and Austin Elluru

Abstract

This chapter explores the impact of size, especially obesity, on career and how employers and legislators can mitigate discrimination against people of extreme size. There is ample evidence of widely held biases and negative stereotypes toward the obese. These biases appear to lead to discrimination against large-sized people in all phases of employment including hiring, discipline, promotion and compensation. The penalty associated with being overweight varies by gender. Women are penalized when they move from the slender range into the normal and overweight range: the larger the size, the greater the evidence of discrimination. Among men, the weight penalty is associated with being either underweight or obese, with little evidence of discrimination against normal and overweight men. Men also appear to pay a smaller penalty for being overweight than do women. Employers can mitigate weight and height discrimination through human resources best practices, such as using structured interviews. Governments can mitigate discrimination by extending legal protections to obese employees.

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