San Francisco Bans Weight Discrimination; Others May Follow

It's not the first law of its type. But because it's in San Francisco, it could be the beginning of a ground swell of public opinion that moves across the U.S. The city of San Francisco recently voted to prohibit discrimination in housing, employment, and accommodations based on a person's height or weight. The legislation allows the city's Civil Rights Commission to investigate complaints, the first step in clearing the way for civil lawsuits. Attempts to prove weight discrimination under the 10-year-old Americans with Disabilities Act have been unsuccessful. The legislative movement in San Francisco began 15 months ago after a fitness club began a billboard campaign suggesting that when aliens came to earth they would "eat the fat ones first." The law does make exceptions for jobs such as firefighting, where physical fitness is a job requirement. Similar laws exist in Santa Cruz, Calif., and in the state of Michigan.

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