The idea sounds shocking: don’t hire fat people.
But wait… isn’t that discriminatory?
Don’t obese people deserve the same opportunities as those that are healthy?
The answer is simple – no.
Bringing an obese person into the workplace is one of the worst ways you can sabotage your company. The negative effects are far-reaching and serious.
By hiring an overweight job candidate, you are running the risk of decreasing efficiency, increasing overhead costs, and hurting your company’s image.
Most businesses want their brands associated with vitality and high professionalism. When you employ a fat person, it is not conveying this image.
Appallingly, healthy employees are becoming a rarity across industries. Estimates show approximately 86% of the American workforce are categorized as overweight and/or suffering from a chronic medical condition.
“Would I employ you if you were obese? No I would not.” –Katie Hopkins
1. Serious Health Issues
The reason those who are obese and overweight are missing so many days of work is due to their high risk of developing serious medical conditions.
Each year in the United States, obesity is linked to 400,000 deaths and has the same medical effect as adding 20 years to the person’s current age.
Health disorders associated with obesity include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, metabolic disorders, gallstones, and certain forms of cancer.
Nearly 80% of those categorized as obese have one or more of these medical issues. The expense of treating any of these diseases is costly.
Healthcare costs may include complex and major surgeries, a host of prescription drugs, frequent doctor visits, and physical therapy sessions.
When asking the reason that human resource administrators avoid hiring obese job candidates, the answer is likely they find the prospects to be lazy.
They fear that if hired the fat person will be unable to have the motivation to complete the tasks required by them.
A lack of motivation isn’t a completely unfair assumption when it comes to overweight employees. There is the idea that they won’t “pull their weight” since they don’t have the drive required to lose those extra pounds.
Other employees are likely to feel resentful toward the obese person, especially if they see favorable treatment. There could be mutiny as employees wonder why they have to work extra hard to cover for the overweight worker.
3. Decreased Morale
Employee morale is likely to be negatively affected after hiring a new obese employee. A person’s workplace environment has a direct effect on his or her overall well-being.
Working with an obese person who is not being productive or must leave work often because of health issues can have harmful consequences on the rest of the staff’s mental state. Decreased morale isn’t just an issue while employees are at work.
Think about how many people bring work stress home with them and how the stress can alter relationships with friends and family.
4. Frequent Breaks
Obese employees have less endurance than those who fall into a healthy weight range. They need longer and more frequent rest periods in order to get back the energy needed for work tasks.
In 2014, a joint study conducted by researchers from Virginia Tech and the University of Buffalo found obese workers required more time for their body’s muscle function to return to normal than those who were non-obese.
Participants in the study had to perform duties such as hand gripping and simple assembly operation.
The obese group was found to have a staggering 40 percent less endurance than the control group. How will your other employees feel when they are forced to pick up the slack?
5. High Medical Costs
There is a direct correlation between obesity and a company’s medical costs. Research conducted by The Conference Board found that obesity costs American businesses a whopping $45 billion annually in medical expenditures.
Due to an obese person’s high risk of a host of diseases, their medical costs are likely to be seven times more than a normal weight individual.
Medical insurance premiums are much higher for companies who employ the obese. Worse yet, obesity isn’t just taxing your company’s resources, but the insurance industry as a whole.
The rise in obesity has caused a surge in the overall cost to insure Americans.
6. More Workers’ Comp Claims
Not only are more claims filed, but more complications arise during treatment for work-related injuries.
For instance, an obese employee who files a claim due to a knee injury may not improve for months due to the stress put on the joints from the excess weight.
During this time, the injured employee may put on even more weight due to inactivity. This could make the return to work more challenging than ever.
7. Increased Sick Days
One of the most damning statistics against hiring the obese is the sheer number of sick days they take during the course of any given year.
The Duke University analysis further indicated that overweight workers lost 13 times the number of workdays due to injury and illness.
As the obese contend with serious health issues, there’s no telling how many days he or she will need off to address medical needs.
8. Lower Productivity
There’s no doubt about it.
Someone who is carrying around more than a few extra pounds around the midsection isn’t going to have the same stamina as an employee who maintains a healthy weight.
And the less work that’s being done on the job is causing money to come right out of your pocket daily.
Obesity can also put limitations on what type of duties the person can perform while at work.
As an example, can an obese person comfortably travel for out of state meetings?
Furthermore, traveling arrangements could cost you more if the overweight individual requires more than one seat on flights.
Accommodating the obese employee may also lead to increased spending on specialty office furniture like oversized office chairs.
9. Mental Health Effects
There are a large number of mental health disorders associated with obesity. Obese individuals are more prone to depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and eating disorders.
Due to depression, an obese individual may seek out food for comfort and become caught in a vicious cycle of gaining more and more weight.
Mental health issues can affect a corporation in the same way obesity can. There is likely to be less productivity, increased employee absences, low workplace morale, and high employee turnover.
10. Low Self-Esteem
Many people struggle controlling their weight due to issues with low self-esteem. Since they have no respect for themselves, they don’t do what’s required to keep their bodies healthy.
Overeating and refusing to exercise is essentially a form of self-loathing. The obese employee may eat constantly at work as a way to fulfill an emotional void.
The worker’s distorted self-image will not make him or her an ideal candidate for jobs that require confidence and finesse. For instance, an obese employee is likely to struggle in sales jobs.
11. Less Success in the Workplace
Studies have proven employers view obese candidates as having a higher likelihood of incompetence.
Obese employees are judged as lazy and are considered less capable as those who maintain a healthy weight.
During a 2015 study conducted by Wharton researchers, employers were shown two photos: one of a normal weight candidate and a digitally retouched photo of the same candidate as obese.
Across the board, employers gave lower competence ratings to the resumes of the candidates who appeared obese. There is also a substantive wage gap in obese workers.
Based on the results of several different case studies, obese individuals earned approximately 16 to 17% less than their normal weight counterparts.
When you employ a fat person, the success of your company could be compromised due to the worker’s lack of intelligence. New scientific evidence proves larger waistlines can change a person’s cognitive abilities.
In a 2006 Tel Aviv study, participants with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more were given a vocabulary test. Initially, the obese test takers scored an average of 12% lower than the control group.
Five years later, cognitive function was shown to decline more with the obese test takers scoring 6.5% lower than the first time around.
The test takers in the control group scored the same. Scientists theorize the thickening of arteries in the brains of the obese could be affecting their cognitive thinking.
Another theory is hormones released from excess fat cells could also be causing brain damage in the obese. Would you employ a fat person for a job that requires quick thinking?
What about a job where the employee must operate complex, potentially dangerous machinery?
12. Lower Self-Control
As a way to combat obesity, larger corporations have taken steps to give employee incentives to lose weight.
Many companies have even promised financial perks if their staff loses the weight. However, lack of self-control has caused these programs to fail again and again.
During a recent weight loss study, obese individuals were offered lower healthcare premiums valued at $550 for losing 5% of their total body weight in a year.
None of the study groups reached their weight loss goals and averaged only a 1.5-pound lost. Don’t hire fat people who are likely to become problems on the job due to a lack of self-control.
13. Negative Public Image
Though it may not seem fair, there is public discrimination against those who are obese. And having a fat worker as the face of your business in a customer service job is a downright bad idea.
Shoppers are likely to be turned off by your company when noting the unhealthy lifestyle of those you choose to provide them with service.
Interacting with an overweight representative may encourage shoppers to take their business elsewhere and affect overall customer loyalty.
14. Reduced Strength
In the past, there was a common misconception that obesity meant a person was strong. Due to their excess heft, it was thought they could fulfill physically laborious employment positions.
The medical community has proved this theory wrong. Obese individuals actually have issues with muscular weakness which in turn leads to reduced mobility.
This makes it difficult for the heavier person to have any sort of labor-intensive job such as construction, carpentry, and repair work.
Obese men or women will also likely fail the physical requirements needed to hold down a job as a police officer or firefighter. Basically, don’t hire fat people for any jobs with heavy physical demands. They may get hurt on the job and cause your business an excessive amount of money due to health insurance claims and workers’ compensation claims.
15. Problems With Personal Hygiene
Hygiene is an integral part of interpersonal relationships. If you work in compact spaces, then a coworker’s hygiene takes on a significant role in how well you cope while at work.
And evidence suggests this could be a problem for overweight people. Nothing is more off-putting then heading into the office and being exposed to a smelly coworker.
Employees will feel disgust if they find their new obese coworker has foul-smelling breath. A 2007 Tel Aviv scientific study confirmed body weight has a direct connection to bad breath.
The heavier you are, the worse your breath is likely to smell. The reason is due to obese individuals having a higher concentration of methane and hydrogen gases within their breath.
The study also confirmed that it’s common for those who suffer from halitosis to be unaware of their bad breath. The bad breath can be a serious problem for your company if the employee works directly with customers.
Your consumers are likely to be majorly turned off by the person’s bad breath and may think twice before returning to your establishment.
Body odor could also be a problem if the employee’s obesity has brought on diabetes. Diabetes causes the body to break down fat when there’s not enough insulin in the body.
This causes a buildup of ketones in the body resulting in a strong body odor. Since the body’s metabolic processes are causing the body odor, the undesirable smell will linger no matter how much scrubbing the person does to get rid of the stench.
The obese employee may try to mask the odor with heavy perfume and cologne—sometimes making the workplace smell even more unbearable for those around him or her.
Why do they smell?
That’s not the only way fat people will smell.
Overweight folks usually have rolls of fat that overlap on their body, this skin rubs together causing friction that leads to bad odours.
The lack of air circulation to these flabby areas leads to excess sweat and bacteria, thus resulting in an awful smell.
Not only are fat people smellier, they will be sweating more than a thin person also.
The excess fat around their body acts as an insulator that raises core temperature, so be prepared to see those mighty sweat patches… especially in the summer.
16. Less Education
There is definitive proof the obese lack the same socioeconomic opportunities as those who maintain a normal weight.
A report from “The State of Obesity” commissioned by the Robert Wood Foundation estimated that close to 33% of those who didn’t graduate from high school were obese.
This lack of education is also likely to continue on within the family tree. The same report concluded children of parents who did not graduate high school are 22 to 24% more likely to be obese.
The lack of education is critical to the ongoing obesity epidemic. Without the educational opportunities needed for career advancement, there are significantly less resources available for the poor to lose the weight.
They are unable to afford healthier food choices and live in neighborhood without parks and recreational facilities. Without better paying jobs, they don’t have access to superior healthcare or perks like fitness memberships.
The bottomline is this…
If you’re a fat person reading this.
Then you are more likely to face difficulty finding a job.
In fact, a 2015 study backed by Crosslands Employment Solicitors, reported that almost half of 1,000 British companies surveyed claimed to feel less inclined to recruit employees who are overweight.
That means, just because you are overweight. You will suffer from all the important areas of life… wealth, health and relationships. Is it really worth it?
And if you’re an employer reading this.
The last thing you should be doing is hiring a fat person, aside from everything above.
People who are overweight clearly don’t care about themselves, so why would they care about your company or your customers?
Answer: They won’t.
Would you employ a fat person?