MA Proposal Aims to Bar Weight and Height Discrimination

June 4, 2007 ( - Massachusetts lawmakers are considering legislation that would bar workplace discrimination based on height and weight, as well as in landlord situations and real estate transactions, the Associated Press reported.

According to the news report, if legislators pass the bill, Massachusetts would become the second state behind Michigan to prohibit such discrimination (See MI City Council Broadens Definition of Employment Discrimination ).

Where most states have anti-discrimination laws that cover gender, race, age and religion, Michigan is the only state that includes weight and height. The District of Columbia also bans discrimination based on appearance, and San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California, bar weight and height discrimination. the AP reported.

The current Massachusetts law requires that people who claim discrimination in the workplace must prove that their weight is a disability – an argument that is often rejected by the courts.

The proposal is sponsored by Representative Byron Rushing and stops short of defining short or tall or fat, etc. He made a similar proposal 10 years ago.