Many studies have shown that short people face a disadvantage in the workplace. They earn about $800 less per inch per year than taller workers. Another study showed that with other factors being equal, the taller man will land the job 72% of the time. There is also a glass ceiling for short people. Half of Fortune 500 corporate CEO's are taller than 6 feet tall while only 10% of American men are that height. 30% of men are 5'7" or shorter but only 3% have achieved the leadership of Fortune 500 companies. The glass ceiling exists far below the CEO level. Short people are under-represented in all levels of management.

The inequalities in pay between short people and tall people are similar to inequalities between White Americans and African Americans and between men and women. None of these inequalities can be justified but only short people do not have the needed protections. When someone discriminates based on race, religion or gender, they are braking the law. They are within their legal rights to discriminate again short people.

These six jurisdictions have anti-discrimination laws on their books. We hope to see this list improve in the not too distant future. The list is sorted by size of population.

  1. Ontario, Canada
    The Ontario Human Rights Code (the "Code") states that it is public policy in Ontario to recognize the inherent dignity and worth of every person and to provide for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination. The provisions of the Code are aimed at creating a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person so that each person feels a part of the community and feels able to contribute to the community.

    Standards for height and weight are sometimes used to screen or evaluate job applicants. In the Commission's experience, this tends to occur in recruitment for occupations that traditionally have been male dominated. These standards or selection criteria are based on the average physical stature of men in the majority population group. Women and members of racial minority population groups are, on the average, physically smaller than members of the majority population group. Consequently, these groups tend to be disadvantaged by height and weight criteria.

    The policy of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the "Commission") with regard to such recruitment practices is set out below. This policy applies to all height and weight criteria used in the context of employment....

  2. Michigan, USA
    "In accord with Section 206 of Public Act 453 of 1976, which is known as the Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act, an employer, labor organization, or employment agency shall not print, circulate, post, mail, or otherwise cause to be published a statement, advertisement, notice, or sign relating to employment by the employer or relating to membership in or a classification or referral for employment by the employment agency, which indicates a preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination, based on religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status"....

  3. Victoria, Australia
    The following are the attributes on the basis of which discrimination is prohibited in the areas of activity set out in Part 3-

    (a) age;
    (ab) breastfeeding;
    (ac) gender identity;
    (b) impairment;
    (c) industrial activity;
    (d) lawful sexual activity;
    (e) marital status;
    (ea) parental status or status as a carer;
    (f) physical features; [ inlcudes height -- Ed. ]
    (g) political belief or activity;
    (h) pregnancy;
    (i) race;
    (j) religious belief or activity;
    (k) sex;
    (l) sexual orientation;
    (m) personal association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a
    person who is identified by reference to any of the above attributes.

  4. San Francisco, California, USA
    Pursuant to Chapter 12 B of the San Francisco Administrative Code, the successful consultant and all of its subconsultants, are prohibited from discriminating against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, sexual orientation, gender identity, domestic partner status, marital status, disability or AIDS/HIV status.

  5. District of Columbia, USA
    The District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977, as amended, District of Columbia Official Code Section 2-1401.01 et seq prohibits actual or perceived discrimination on the basis of Race, Color, Sex, National Origin, Religion, Age, Marital Status, Personal Appearance, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, Family Responsibilities, Matriculation, Political Affiliation, Genetic Information and Disability. While height is not listed specifically, it is considered part of the Personal Appearance category.

  6. Santa Cruz, California, USA
    City Ordinance 92-11: "It is the intent of the city council, in enacting this chapter, to protect and safeguard the right and opportunity of all persons to be free from all forms of arbitrary discrimination, including discrimination based on age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, sex, gender, sexual orientation, height, weight or physical characteristic..."

Since 2005, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has been considering bills that would make it illegal for employers to discriminate based on height and weight. In 2008, a second bill was withdrawn by its sponsor, Representative Byron Rushing. Another bill may be introduced in the future.

On March 7, 2011, Assemblyman Tick Segerblom will introduce Assembly Bill 90 which prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee with respect to a physical attribute, including height and weight.

There is a petition underway asking "the Prime Minister to Make height discrimination against the law." If you are a U. K. citizen, we hope you will consider signing it.