Common sense loses

Posted: Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Good principles don't always translate into good policy, as a recent incident in San Francisco illustrates.

A 240-pound woman applied for a job as an aerobics instructor but was rejected on the grounds that she was too heavy to be a good role model. She filed a complaint, saying the decision violated her rights under a city ordinance banning weight discrimination, and the gym was forced to drop its requirement that instructors look fit.

Nobody wants to keep overweight people from working, and the woman insisted she had plenty of stamina to do the job. But even if she is right, how much credibility does a substantially overweight person have in helping people lose weight?

If a company sells remedies for thinning hair, will it have to hire a bald salesman?

Would a business selling smoking-cessation products be required to hire a salesman with the stench of cigarette smoke on his breath and clothing?

Fairly or unfairly, a product or service often is judged partly by the most visible person with which it is associated.

-- The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

May 27

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