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CDC Obesity Cost Calculator Criticized for Encouraging Workplace Discrimination

Posted on in Employment

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a move to reduce obesity in the American population has been promoting a campaign that offers employers an obesity calculator. The calculator is meant to be used for employers to calculate the financial losses that are caused to their companies by overweight or obese employees. However, there is already criticism that such a campaign could actually trigger workplace discrimination by encouraging employers to fire employees who are obese or overweight.

The program claims that companies need to assess or calculate the cost of obesity in their workplace. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year, obesity costs the American healthcare system more than $140 billion. Employers can use the obesity calculator, to enter the body mass indices of employees in the workplace, and tabulate the cost to the company because of that obesity. Those costs could include medical expenses, including hospitalization costs, drug prescriptions and lost workdays as a result of obesity-related illnesses.

However, Los Angeles employment lawyers have concerns that some employers may get carried away by the fact that the CDC is promoting a campaign like this, and may decide to fire overweight employees. Advocates for overweight Americans are already criticizing the program, saying that it is encouraging anti-fat sentiment in the American workplace. However, just because there have been no instances.

The CDC insists that the program wants to encourage employers to design wellness programs in the workplace to reduce obesity levels among employees. The organization says that it has so far no evidence to indicate that any company has decided to terminate an overweight or fat worker as a result of using the tool. However, just because there have been no instances of employers misusing the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention's move, does not mean that the initiative will not be misused.

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