Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Weight Discrimination Legislation

Laws Making it Unlawful to Discriminate Based on Weight or Appearance

There are no federal laws making it illegal to discriminate against a person based on their weight. Michigan is the only state to make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of weight. The statute states: “the opportunity to obtain employment, housing and other real estate, and the full and equal utilization of public accommodations, public service, and education facilities without discrimination because of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or a civil right.” This is the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act of 2000 and can be found at Michigan Statutes Annotated § 3.548(102) (Michie 2000).

Cities with Civil Rights or Human Rights laws that mention weight or appearance include the District of Columbia, San Francisco, CA, Santa Cruz, CA, Madison, WI, Binghamton, NY, and Urbana IL.

Anti-Bullying Laws

State laws and local school policies address bullying but vary greatly across the country. There are no federal anti-bullying laws and only three states include weight and appearance in their bullying policies. These states include Maine, New Hampshire, and New York. Bully Police offers information about state laws and anti-bullying resources.