Size matters at work

, Following the demonstration that took place in front of the Mayor of London’s office yesterday, calling for legislation outlawing discrimination in the workplace against those who are overweight, James Williams, partner at specialist employment law firm Archon Solicitors LLP has a short commentary plece you may be interested in: · Discrimination on grounds of size or appearance is not covered by existing legislation. However, in certain circumstances claims might be brought under the Sex Discrimination Act or the Age Regulations. This could occur, for example, where a woman has grounds for believing that she had been less favourably treated than an overweight man would have been or an overweight younger person considers that they have not been treated in the same way as an overweight older person would have been. · Any legislation brought in to deal with discrimination on grounds of weight would need to be drafted extremely carefully. Unless reference was made to an objective test as to when an individual is to be considered as overweight (such as BMI), the question of whether an employee qualified for protection would be extremely subjective and difficult to define. This issue would be even more problematic if the legislation was extended to cover so-called ‘look-ism’ (i.e., discrimination on grounds of appearance generally). · The Equality Bill 2009, which is due to come into law next year, will bring together all existing anti-discrimination legislation into one regime. Presumably if there had been any appetite (excuse the pun) to introduce legislation covering discrimination on grounds of weight, it would have been considered during the preparation of the Bill and incorporated at that stage. Please let me know if you would like James to expand these ideas for you. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Editors Note: Contacts: James Williams, Partner, Archon Solicitors: 020 7397 9650 Lauren Alexander, Maltin PR: 020 7887 1357 Photograph: Kind regards, Lauren Alexander Media Director Maltin PR Berkeley Square House Berkeley Square London W1J 6BD T +44(0)20 7887 1357 F +44(0)20 7887 6001 M +44(0)7515 664 338