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Managers Who Think Highly Of Themselves More Likely To Discriminate: Study

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Who's most likely to discriminate against obese workers? Managers who think they're good looking.

That's one finding of a new study in the International Journal of Obesity .

The study found--perhaps unsurprisingly--that women who are obese are more likely to be discriminated against in the workplace. "Participants viewed a series of resumes that had a small photo of the job applicant attached, and were asked to make ratings of the applicants suitability, starting salary, and employability," Dr. Kerry O'Brien, lead researcher of the study, told the Times Of India.

The study, which did not consider men, found that starting salary, leadership potential and likelihood of getting a job were all negatively influenced by a job candidate's obesity.

Interestingly, employers who thought highly of their own physical attributes were more likely to discriminate, according to the study.

Is weight discrimination illegal? In most states, no, according to TIME Moneyland. In all 50 states, with the exception of Michigan, employers have the right to deny an overweight person a job if there is a legitimate business reason for doing so.

Reuters recently reported that obese employees more likely to be absent from work:

The obese are absent from work more often than people of healthy weight. The most obese men take 5.9 more sick days a year; the most obese women, 9.4 days more. Obesity-related absenteeism costs employers as m u ch as $6.4 billion a year, health economists led by Eric Finkelstein of Duke University calculated.

Obese employers also cost more to insure. According to Reuters, the health care reform law will allow employers to charge obese employees more for coverage if they refuse to take part in work wellness programs.

While height, weight and haircolor have all been shown to impact salaries, a recent study concluded that of women who include a photo with their job applications, attractive women had a harder time getting an interview than less-than-attractive women.