General chatter - Weight Discrimination at Work




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sparkle
10-17-2013, 01:47 AM
Hi everyone! I rarely post in here, but often read other peoples posts which tends to help me through this process.

I am posting today because I would love to hear others insight. I work for a large firm where my boss is a partner. He repeatedly made fun of my weight: telling me I eat too much, that there is no store in the entire country (we were in Asia) that would have any clothes to fit me, telling me I don't know anything etc. I reported him but my company did not really do anything. They said that they would "coach" him in the future and suggested that I get counseling. And then they said it was my responsibility to have said something sooner. I am just so frustrated and feel really defeated. Has anyone else dealt with something like this? Any anecdotes on how you dealt with this or words of support would be very appreciated.


fillupthesky
10-17-2013, 02:26 AM
i'm so sorry this is happening...while this hasn't happened to me, the best suggestion is to continue to talk to human resources. if you're in a unionized position, speak to the union representative. it's not your responsibility to do anything, it's his responsibility to be professional and to treat employees with respect.

ultimately, if your company continues to be unsupportive, you can always look for a new job.

good luck

luckymommy
10-17-2013, 03:12 AM
I agree with fillupthesky....he clearly has some issues to be doing this to you. I would not engage in any small talk with him, that's for sure. Keep it to the absolute minimum. I'm so sorry you're going through it! Finally, just have a good life and don't let him get in the way of that...I usually give people with negative comments way too much power and then they win. Not anymore. I hope you will make yourself the priority and don't worry about what scum like that spews out of his mouth!


sparkle
10-17-2013, 03:17 AM
thanks for your responses! you are both right, he is in the wrong I should try to ignore him.

fillupthesky, I am not in a union. I reached out to HR and it actually made it worse. Once they talked to them he was even more of a jerk and then promoted all of the people at my level except for me even though I posted higher numbers than all of them. I think that is what really upsets me, that my company didn't care at all and let him get away with it.

But I really appreciate the kind words :)

luckymommy
10-17-2013, 03:21 AM
One thing I wanted to add...it seems like whenever I try to lose weight, I face some unexpected major challenge. I end up caving much of the time and undoing all the progress. Well, I'm trying to look at those challenges as a test now and I try to find the strength to continue on and not let them derail my efforts.

fillupthesky
10-17-2013, 03:39 AM
they're probably not going to be aggressive with him because of his rank, which is super annoying.
if you plan on staying at this job, just work hard, ignore him, and the right people will promote you.
don't let this jerk get you down girl!

time4me2change
10-17-2013, 06:29 AM
personally, that sounds like a company I wouldn't want to work for.

If I was in that situation I would find another job (and I did in March 2011) Because my principal at the school I worked at in China was completely inappropriate and did not like me at all, and it was obvious.

Now I work at a school where I am praised for my hard work and respected.

although for humour reasons a voodoo doll might help ;)

happynottsgirl
10-17-2013, 08:34 AM
Document everything. I would not stay at that place, since power seems to rest on him, your productivity and work quality will get you nowhere. Also, since it appears he has some deep issues with you he could try to interfere if he knows you're job hunting. So be careful in that regard, and it appears you won't be able to get recommendation letters from them. Go where your work will be valued. Your numbers were the best so it's their loss.

Wannabeskinny
10-17-2013, 08:58 AM
Wow, it sounds like HR is NOT doing their job. Why should you get counseling? Why should you be driven out of your job? I hate to say this but now that you've reported it and it's gotten worse it's sort of your responsibility to follow through with more action, only because even if you leave he'll do this to someone else. He gains more power by getting away with this and I couldn't let that happen.

I would document everything he says, and what you did about it. Make a chart that has the following things you can fill in:

Date
Incident
People involved
Witnesses
Your response
HR's response
Outcome

When you start showing things in writing people get scared because they know that you mean business. Your HR department has really dropped the ball here and you have a case for filing a lawsuit FOR SURE and I say that because HR actually made things worse for you, write it down! I would speak to a lawyer asap.

For people who are misogynists, for people who spew hatred there should be no remorse in my opinion. Because when it goes unchecked it gets worse. It's like the monster that when you chop off its head it grows back 2. You need to cauterize it.

diamondgeog
10-17-2013, 09:59 AM
Think, I can change my weight. But ugly inside is a lot harder to change.

I know this might be cold comfort but bullies are always usually miserable inside and they need to take it out on someone.

I don't know where I got this growing up but there was a bully who was also popular at our school around 5th grade. I knew I was a good person even then, all I did was try to help people. He decided to bully me. I remember one day telling him I don't care what other people think I know your an a** and always will be. In this case he left me alone after that.

Good luck. Use it as fuel if you can.

Kendah72
10-17-2013, 10:20 AM
One thing I wanted to add...it seems like whenever I try to lose weight, I face some unexpected major challenge. I end up caving much of the time and undoing all the progress. Well, I'm trying to look at those challenges as a test now and I try to find the strength to continue on and not let them derail my efforts.

This always seems to happen to me as well! It seems like whenever I feel ready to focus on "me" and getting myself healthy, it is a sure fire thing that something is going to go wrong. I know life will always have it's challenges, and that I have to learn to deal with them in ways other than stress or anxiety eating.

As far as the weight discrimination, what a horrible thing to be going through! I have not faced this myself in a work setting. I did notice that you say you are working in Asia. Do you have Asian coworkers? I went to Vietnam and Cambodia this spring, and felt more out of place and my weight weighed on me so heavily there. I really stuck out like a sore thumb. There were restaurants that I could not fit in the chairs, and several times random people would comment on my weight. Once I was in a cooking class, and the teacher singled me out and said, "You tell me if you like this. You fat, so you know good food." I was humiliated, and the other Westerners in the class were mortified.

I hope things get better for you soon.

Kenda

SarainMN
10-17-2013, 10:25 AM
CALL A LAWYER AND GET OUT OF THAT JOB!

seriously that is harassment and in this day and age NOT ACCEPTABLE!! HE'S A BULLY!!

like the above said-write everything down
contact a lawyer-what would it hurt...he could get you to get paid while looking for another job

novangel
10-17-2013, 05:33 PM
I don't bother with HR or lawyers. When someone at work treats me like crap (yes, I have been called "fat" in the past too) I confront them myself. That always ends it. Most bullies don't expect to have their @ss handed to them.

JulesMarion
10-17-2013, 05:44 PM
^ Amen. As the blunt of bullying in my youth, I see now that if I had just stood up for myself and had the confidence I should have, it would not have been as big of an issue as it was. Bullies thrive off those who do not stand up for themselves so they can dominate and feel superior. Confront him and tell him that kind of behavior is rude and that you're not going to listen to the insults.

What's the worst that could happen? It already seems that you need to find a new environment. No one deserves to be treated that way, and obviously at this point going further with HR is not helping. Maybe confide in a co-worker and do document these things.

Just keep up the good work and ignore him. There are people in the world who are just jerks.

IanG
10-17-2013, 10:04 PM
I'd jab with the left and then come in with a big right. If he is still standing...left hook.

seabiscuit
10-17-2013, 10:57 PM
That guy sounds like a real @$$. I don't know how to advise you but my first thought was to look for another job. You deserve better! I hope that you take care of yourself. If you do decide to get a lawyer, you could ask around for the name of one, go to your local bar counsel's website and see if they could point you in the right direction.

Good luck!

sparkle
10-18-2013, 12:44 AM
Thanks everyone for the kind words! Definitely helps to be reminded that he is just a jerk! :)

alaskanlaughter
10-18-2013, 12:57 AM
I'd jab with the left and then come in with a big right. If he is still standing...left hook.

LIKE!!!

where's the like button?

patns
10-18-2013, 01:45 AM
I am curious if you are now working in North America? This would be totally not exceptable at my workplace and HR would have to do something about it.

Bindii
10-18-2013, 02:09 AM
I am curious if you are now working in North America? This would be totally not exceptable at my workplace and HR would have to do something about it.

Ditto for if this happened here in Australia. Sadly though many Asian countries don't have the same regulations and or views that we do when it comes to discrimination and code of conduct at work. I'm sorry that this has happened to you and all I can say is that what goes around comes around and that Karma will get him good one day.. :)

sparkle
10-18-2013, 02:10 AM
Patns-Yes, both os us are in the US. When we were in Asia, it was for a business trip. I think if he was at a different level they may have addressed it differently, but since he is high ranking and brings in a lot of money, he can get away with it. I told him not to talk to me like that etc, but he didn't listen and HR claimed he didn't understand. So, basically they were just protecting him.

Bindii
10-18-2013, 06:38 AM
Patns-Yes, both os us are in the US. When we were in Asia, it was for a business trip. I think if he was at a different level they may have addressed it differently, but since he is high ranking and brings in a lot of money, he can get away with it. I told him not to talk to me like that etc, but he didn't listen and HR claimed he didn't understand. So, basically they were just protecting him.

HR have a lot to answer to in that case, sadly though they can also make your life a misery if you choose to take it further without their support (although I suspect I would be tempted anyway).. it may be easier to be the better person and ignore him while doing your job.. and if it's too hard start looking for another job where you are treated with the respect you deserve.

(P.S If I was there I would be tempted to smack him for you!)..

Wannabeskinny
10-18-2013, 09:23 AM
HR have a lot to answer to in that case, sadly though they can also make your life a misery if you choose to take it further without their support (although I suspect I would be tempted anyway).. it may be easier to be the better person and ignore him while doing your job.. and if it's too hard start looking for another job where you are treated with the respect you deserve.

(P.S If I was there I would be tempted to smack him for you!)..

This is not a case of "be the better person" or "turn the other cheek." This is a workplace environment and the OP has rights that are not being upheld or protected. HR's job is to protect the workers and they are not doing their job. So far, only the OP is actually doing their job! I can't believe how many people are advising the OP to just deal with it when so much more can be done to protect her and those that come after her.

amandie
10-18-2013, 02:12 PM
This is not a case of "be the better person" or "turn the other cheek." This is a workplace environment and the OP has rights that are not being upheld or protected. HR's job is to protect the workers and they are not doing their job. So far, only the OP is actually doing their job! I can't believe how many people are advising the OP to just deal with it when so much more can be done to protect her and those that come after her.

I'm shocked too. I'd stand up and fight. Document, document and document! Seriously, look for a lawyer.

Sasha29
10-22-2013, 01:52 AM
Please fight him. Document everything, keep copies of all communications, and get a lawyer. If he were making comments to someone about their race or making fun of someone who was disabled, no one would expect that person to turn the other cheek. I think those of us who are "fat" are used to people disparaging us, so we let things slide out of shame. I have heard many people say that fat people are the last group of people that it's okay to bully. Your jerk of a boss reinforces that.

One more thing: it wouldn't surprise me if your boss has a history of bullying. HR might be hiding it, but I'd be shocked if this was the first complaint they've received.

Keywis25
10-24-2013, 01:22 PM
I have worked for big corporations my whole adult life and unfourtunatly the one thing I have learned is that HR's job is to minimize the legal ramifications for the company not to protect the employee's. Unless that is what minimizes the legal ramifications. So you talked to them and they talked to him and told him to quit any guy who is enough of a jerk to say it in the first place was of course going to get offensive when he got reprimanded for it. However what you must know is he is not going to get fired and is not going to change. So if you do document and decide to fight which I think you should do not take it to HR but an employment lawyer who can give you good advice and lead you in the right direction so when it comes down to it you are covered and in the right not the wrong as the company will try to paint you.

Desiderata
10-24-2013, 01:44 PM
Keywis is exactly right. The purpose of HR is not to help or protect you; it's to protect the company. Common misconception. They are not your ally.