Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Debate Team

A thousand years ago when I was in college, I decided to give a class on Public Debate a try. I figured we'd argue a few topics, have some fun, and get an easy "A".

I got a surprise. One of the exercises involved an interesting tactic. The idea was, that it's pretty easy to give an argument in favor of something one believes in. Debating the Iraq war would be a simple thing to decide: you are either in favor of, or against, the War, and you could take a side and debate the issue.

But what this exercise required was to take a topic and debate it convincingly, but take the side of the argument that you weren't in favor of. So if I was against the War in this instance, I would have to take the pro-War stance and debate it based strictly on the facts of
someone who wanted the war to continue.

So consider this:
We've pretty much all come to agreement that prohibiting someone from working a job of their choice simply because they happened to be obese. We wouldn't tolerate it, no matter what, correct?

So if we can't stop someone from getting work because of being too heavy, should we be able to fire someone from their job because he or she is too thin?


  1. Interesting question, and since I have a personal interest in this, I'll be the first to reply. If a person becomes too thin to physically handle their job responsibilities, termination could be an option. Physical ability to handle a job is a legally acceptable reason for not hiring an obese person, and not meeting company image is iffy but can still work as a reason to deny a job or terminate someone. As far as I know, anorexia isn't protected by the ADA, but if a company has benefits that allow for the treatment of addictions like alcohol or drugs and let the person maintain their job while they're getting treatment, even if their job performance has been affected, the same benefits should be extended to the people who become too thin to handle their jobs. Make sense to you?

  2. Anonymous8:40 PM

    I'm really not sure how to answer this...but I can say that I bet you were great in that

    I've seen that tactic...defending the other's view. It's a fascinating challenge I think. I also think it is good to use when couples (or parent/child) are arguing...have them switch roles. Sometimes it helps. If not, it sure is fun!

    Ciao for now,

  3. Weight,race,physical appearance & age, shouldn't be a reason to fire or not hire anyone. Whether you are capable of doing a job is what really matters. Anyone can have joint pains, back pains, bad knees, drug & alcohol problems.
    You probably not looking for this, but just wanted to add my 2 cents!
    I've struggled with starting over & found age was an issue with employers in the graphics field.

  4. I say yes! Fire the skinny bitch. LOL kidding. Glad I found you i missed you. I've subscribed to your blog and will be back soon. Nicholas is climbing the walls

  5. I'm too tired to have an opinion on this...I just wanted to say I'm glad to see the grammar is back up to par! :)

  6. Yes, if he was a mall Santa.

    Seriously, in most states it is perfectly legal to discriminate against anyone unless it is because of race, sex, color, nationality, disability, and religion.

  7. Someone will always find a reason to sue......that's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

  8. LMAO @ the mall Santa comment. Geez, I love the humor that many onliners have.

    Your question regarding weight generates so many other questions. I think it could actually become an endless list of questions. What if someone happens to be extremely pretty or handsome, and it distracts other workers. Should the beauty be fired? Flip side, if a worker is hideously unattractive and it affects coworkers, should he/she be fired? Pandora's box was opened when we began to pick and choose which afflictions/diseases/habits/etc. are considered tolerable and intolerable.

    I am SO happy I am not out in the working world. I have difficulty tolerating bullshit.


  9. But that isn't the other side of the argument. Both topics are really 'should we be allowed to refuse or terminate employment based on a person's weight?' For me the answer is the same anyway: if their weight (too much OR too little) prevents them from doing the work, then it's a valid reason to refuse or terminate their employment.


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