Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Policy Makers

Currently, there are no federal laws that prohibit discrimination against obese and overweight people in the workplace, and Michigan is the only state with an anti-discrimination law on its books.

In 2008, Massachusetts held a hearing for House Bill 1844, an Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Weight and Height Unlawful. Despite overwhelming support for the bill at the March hearing, it did not get out of committee. Lawmakers plan to reintroduce the bill in the next legislative session.

In December 2008, the city council of Binghamton, New York passed a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of weight or height. The Binghamton Human Rights Law specifically makes it illegal to discriminate in employment, housing, education or public accommodations on the basis of weight.

Washington, DC, San Francisco and Santa Cruz, CA, Urbana, IL, and Madison, WI are the only other cities and municipalities in the country that have weight discrimination policies.

This Rudd Center policy brief covers the consequences of bias in employment, health care and education; provides citations for important studies; suggests responses to common arguments against the need for weight bias; and discusses current law, and policy recommendations.