24 January 2008
Employers who don't deal with "fattism" may face constructive dismissal claims
Employers who do not tackle bullying concerning workers' weight may face claims for constructive dismissal, the Times reports.
Although there is no explicit legislation covering workplace discrimination against obese staff, laws on bullying and, in extreme cases, disability discrimination could be used to bring a case of fattism against an organisation, according to Ben Willmott of the Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
He stated that managers should ensure they focus on skills and productivity when selecting candidates for promotion rather than body shape and should be trained to be "sensitive to the issue of obesity and the problem of inappropriate language".
"The way to tackle obesity is not to demonise the overweight or assume that they are lazy employees, but to help them with a raft of healthier lifestyle initiatives," he added.
With around 13,000 members, the CIPD is a professional body for personnel involved in the management and development of people.