What can help with weight discrimination at work

Berlin / Aachen (dpa / tmn) – Dick equates to unruly, stupid, lazy, underperforming, and susceptible to disease – this assessment persists in HR departments. Years ago, an experimental study at the University of Tübingen showed the prejudices of staff decision makers towards people of high weight.

They are said to be less willing to gamble and to be sick more often. They are considered unrepresentative and perceived as not being intellectual.

“But the big guys are aware that they are seen that way. So they are often particularly motivated and willing to work to counter these prejudices. It would be nice if jobs were only awarded on the basis of qualifications,” says Natalie Rosenke. , president of the Society against Weight Discrimination. (GgG).

Difficult self-confidence test

Lawyer Stefanie Peters (name changed) also notes that as a heavy woman, she is not expected to have a prestigious job. “Especially in a conservative legal environment. People don’t trust me because of the weight,” said the 46-year-old. “In the meantime, I learned to face it with confidence, because I’m good at my job, but it was difficult during my studies and in the early years.

But her self-confidence also has limits, such as when she has to go through narrow courthouse security booths in her daily job. “Some cabins are incredibly cramped, I’m stuck inside and the security guards stand next to them, smiling,” she describes the situation, seen as humiliating. She is not always in the mood for the situation.

Openly treat discomfort

Tackling discomfort is the method of choice for dealing with this type of discrimination. Sabine G. Fischer works as a coach and supervisor in the field of health and social services and also advises people with a high body weight. Your advice: If your colleagues make an insulting comment, it should be discussed in private as soon as possible.

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Even though this is difficult for those affected, they should make it clear with a firm voice and a clear gaze to the bridge of the nose that they will not tolerate abusive behavior. “If the other person shows that they are not transparent, they should talk to their superiors. If that doesn’t help, management should be notified in writing of the incident, ”advises Fischer.

Depending on the size of the company, trained staff from the works council or an equality body can also help.

Approaching high weight as a young professional

Sabine G. Fischer also advises young professionals to take the initiative to address the issue of high weight in their application letters or interviews. “We cannot hide our weight, but we can probe if we encounter any prejudices in a business. If then it is made clear to us that we are not wanted, we have taken care of ourselves and can avoid unpleasant situations. . “

If people objectively talk about high body weight, that is perfectly fine: “The question of how to live with such a high body weight can be asked calmly if it is not framed in a derogatory way. Or if superiors openly ask if high body weight Body weight goes hand in hand with lower resilience, which can be clarified. “

Advertise the Fat Specialists

However, there are also companies that publicly indicate that they meet fat people without prejudice. The sme company Familienservice launched the “Big in business” campaign last year to target fat specialists. CEO Alexa Ahmad has also experienced contempt, denigration and disapproving looks in her professional life. She wanted to show that there is another way.

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“We specifically encourage people to apply for us who have been bullied or who feel discriminated against because of their weight,” she said. It counts what each individual can contribute to the workflow.

Although society is primarily open to diversity and accepts diverse life plans, Ahmad’s experience unfortunately does not yet apply to body size: “We fat people rarely experience life. tolerance or even acceptance that we would like, ”she said.

Petition for an extension of the AGG

This happens regardless of the position. “During a meeting with another company manager, the porter sent me to the freight elevator. Although I am experienced and quite confident in myself, I can happily do without such experiences, ”says the CEO.

“It is bitter that the dirty talk is unfortunately still in full swing – whether it’s openly shouted in the schoolyard or unspoken at work,” Ahmad says. With her business, she wants to play a role in initiating change.

The GgG has pledged to establish effective protection against serious discrimination in private law relations in law: a petition on the portal of the Bundestag’s Petitions Committee to extend paragraph 1 of the General Equality Act treatment (AGG) to include “weight” discrimination has already started.

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