Poll Suggests Job Hunters Should Lose Weight before Starting Their Job Search

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A recent online survey at the website for human resource professionals,, suggests losing a few pounds could be the best tactic an overweight person can use to increase the success of their job search.

Dropping a few pounds might be the best thing an overweight person can do to help improve their chances of landing a good job. At least that’s what the results of an online poll at, a website for human resource professionals, suggest.

The poll asked HR managers, “Has someone's weight ever influenced your decision on whether to hire him or her?” The responses broke down this way:

Yes – 25%

Maybe unconsciously – 35%

No – 40%

The poll, conducted May 12-19, drew 552 participants.

“While federal law bars discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, age, race, or national origin, it does not expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of physical appearance, such as weight,” observed Susan Prince, managing editor at Business & Legal Reports, which operates “Some workers and applicants who believe they’ve been unjustly treated for being overweight have sought protection under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but the courts have generally ruled that obesity does not meet the ADA’s definition of a disability.”

Nevertheless, Prince added, at least one state and a couple of municipalities have their own laws prohibiting weight discrimination or discrimination on the basis of appearance, so employers need to be cognizant of them.

Prince also speculated that employers might be avoiding overweight applicants because of obesity’s negative impact on health insurance costs. She stressed, however, that those who participated in this poll weren’t asked about that., “State HR Answers and Tools Online,” provides subscribers with plain-English analysis of the workplace laws in all 50 states. And for HR professionals who need to know what the ADA does cover, BLR offers a free download, “Managing Disabilities in the Workplace”:

About BLR

Old Saybrook, Conn.-based BLR produces plain-English compliance and training resources for HR, compensation, safety, and environmental managers. For more information and a free catalog, call 800-727-5257 or visit

Contact: Managing Web Editor Kevin Flood

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John Brady