What constitutes harassment/discrimination in the workplace?

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What constitutes harassment/discrimination in the workplace?

My husband’s boss is making weight comments to him. What, if anything, can we do?

Asked on September 13, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

M.S., Member, Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The general rule is that weight -- unlike race, nationality, religion, gender, etc. -- is not a protected class that would give rise to a discrimination lawsuit.  That being said, your husband's company may have internal policies that prohibit that kind of behavior.  I suggest that your husband look at the relevant policies/procedures to determine whether these comments constitute a violation.  If they do, he should get proof of the comments (such as tape recordings, letters, etc.) and then consult with an attorney.  If there is no violation of company policy, then I suggest that your husband lose weight.  Many states have something called at-will employment, which means that an employer can fire an employee for any reason as long as it does not relate to being a member of a protected class.  Therefore, this may become a real issue with respect to your husband's continued employment.


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