By Sally E. Smith
As a plus-size woman, you deserve to work in an environment free of overt and covert prejudice. Attorney Sondra Solovay says that there are many good reasons for an employer to hire plus-size employees and develop a size-friendly workplace. "You're going to get the best employees you can imagine," she says. "You are reaching out to a community and saying that you care. That's how you get a loyal employee."
Solovay, who also conducts diversity trainings through her company, Beyond Bias, says that a size-friendly workplace includes the following:
- Sturdy, armless chairs that are easily accessible for both clients and workers
- Plenty of room in the halls and work areas - for example, boxes should be stacked in a way that doesn't make it difficult for a plus-size woman to pass by
- Inclusive programs - for example, if an employee benefit is membership to a fitness center, promotional material should be focussed on health at any size, rather than on weight loss
- Sensitivity in addressing an employee's special needs, such as seating, so that the worker isn't stigmatized
- Diversity training that incorporates size issues
- An equal opportunity statement that includes "weight and height"
- Zero tolerance for size-related harassment
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