Fat people 'don't fit' in business world

Published Wednesday, 27 February 2013
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A 22-stone, jobless single mum is calling for action to prevent employers discriminating against those who are overweight, but she faces stern opposition on the This Morning sofa from Apprentice star Katie Hopkins who says: "I would never employ you!"

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Jay Cole, 24, claims that she has been overlooked in favour of less qualified candidates - based solely on her size - and argues that such discrimination wouldn't be allow on any other grounds.

Describing her experience of job interviews, she told This Morning's Phillip and Holly: "You walk into a room and you just see their expressions. They don't expect it and they're just like: 'Oh.'"

While Jay does have underlying medical issues which contribute to her weight, she also argues that she should only be judged on her qualifications and her ability to do the job.

Just because I walk in and I'm ten dress sizes bigger than you ... That proves there is such a thing as fattism.

Jay Cole

"Why should I have to change who I am?" she said.

"Having a job is about qualifications - you don't go for a job interview because you look a certain way. And if everyone looked a certain way, the world would be boring."

But business woman Katie Hopkins, who is known for her strong opinions, said the issue was a simple one: first impressions do matter.

"Would I want to put someone in front of a client who looks like this?" she responded.

"Do they look dynamic? Do they look disciplined? Do they look highly efficient? Well, no, speaking frankly. And therefore, Jay wouldn't be someone that I would employ.

"And we have to recognise there are lots of other people queuing up behind her for that job, so I have a lot of other choices."

Katie also questioned why Jay wouldn't make the effort to change and take action over weight, especially when she is aware that she is apparently being judged for it.

"You know people have this opinion, so why don't you think: 'Well, if I am going to compete, if I am going to get myself off benefits - which I really want to - why don't I change?"

Looks still matter. It may be unfair, but it's totally within your remit to do something about it and you're choosing not to.

Katie Hopkins

Jay argues that people wouldn't be asked to change their colour or a disability in order to get a job.

"If you walk into a room and someone looks at you and automatically writes you off, you don't expect that from someone who's employing people - they're meant to be professionals," she said.

But Katie insists: "If I have a choice between someone who is 22 stone or someone who is equally qualified, I will pick the other person because that is a differentiator."

But Jay still disagreed with her stance and said: "That's what has to be sorted - that shouldn't be allowed. That's discrimination, it's not right."

And even Holly seemed to agree, adding: "It may be reality, but it's not right."

Do you think employers are right to discriminate against people who are overweight? Leave a comment to have your say!

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