Should body weight be considered a protected class under Civil Rights laws? According to 3 out of 4 people asked in a new study, the answer is yes.
New research from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity shows most Americans support policies addressing weight discrimination. In fact, at least 60 percent of Americans are supportive of policy efforts to address weight discrimination across the country.
According to Rebecca Puhl, PhD, study author and deputy director of the Rudd Center, “More than two-thirds of adults in the United States are affected by overweight or obesity, meaning they are also vulnerable to the stigma and discrimination that these proposed policies and laws would help prevent.”
What if you were boarding a plane and told you were too fat to fly? Can you imagine the pain and embarrassment you would feel? Well, one woman who went through this very experience said it not only left her feeling humiliated, but also like she was treated incredibly unfairly.
Kenlie Tiggeman, a blogger and political strategist, flies often both domestically and internationally. While she’s never had a problem with any other airline when it comes to her size, Tiggeman – who’s already lost more than 120 pounds – was told by a Southwest gate attendant on two separate occasions that she didn’t meet the requirements of the company’s “Customers of Size” policy.
Southwest’s policy states that it does not allow passengers to board who can’t fit between the 17-inch armrests, unless they buy a second seat. Tiggeman is more than happy to oblige with this rule, but her problem with it is that it’s not consistent or clearly defined, which is why Southwest has let her board most of the flights she’s purchased tickets for, and then unexpectedly denied her the right to board others. For this reason, Tiggeman has decided to sue the airline. (more…)
During an Easter Sunday layover in Dallas, a woman was told by an employee of Southwest Airlines that she was “too fat to fly.” Kenlie Tiggeman, a blogger and political strategist, has already lost 120 pounds, but still didn’t meet the requirements under Southwest’s “Customers of Size” policy. The airline does not allow passengers to board who can’t fit between the 17-inch armrests, unless they buy a second seat.
While the airline says that it’s their policy to speak to overweight passengers in a discrete manner, Tiggeman says she was confronted in front of about 100 people.
“I know that I have a lot of weight to lose but I am definitely not too fat to fly,” says Tiggeman. “I do it all the time, domestically and internationally, and I have never had anyone approach me and particularly in the way that they did. I was embarrassed, humiliated.”
On par with unruly behavior or carrying a potential terrorist weapon, we can now add being too overweight as one of the possible reasons for getting booted off of an airplane.
Just this past Saturday, director Kevin Smith was asked to de-board a Southwest flight from Oakland to Burbank, California because, ahem, his bum was encroaching on the seats of his neighboring passengers, which according to Southwest Airlines regulations, posed a safety hazard to his fellow passengers.
Southwest said in an official statement that his removal was for the “safety and comfort of all customers.” The airlines also extended their “heartfelt apologies” to Smith.
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