Swedish firms prefer not to hire fat people: study

Overweight jobseekers have a hard time finding work in Sweden, new research shows, with potential employers often ruling out tubby candidates over concerns about their productivity.

Swedish firms prefer not to hire fat people: study

The study, carried out by the Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy (IFAU), found that obese jobseekers have an 83 percent lower chance of landing a job compared with people of normal weight, Sveriges Radio (SR) reported.

Small companies are more likely to reject job candidates who are overweight, older, or have a history of health problems, while larger companies can more easily afford to “take a chance” during the recruitment process, said Uppsala University economics professor Per Johansson, one of the authors of the study.

“We interpret it as if employers believe all people who are overweight are less productive,” Johansson told the TT news agency.

Johansson emphasized that choosing not to hire someone because of their weight is not only illegal, but that companies risk missing out on talented workers who happen to be somewhat heavy.

One manager at a small IT firm told TT that he refuses to hire people who are extremely overweight.

“My experience has been that they often can’t handle working at the pace I demand of myself and my coworkers,” he said.

He added he has nothing personal against people who are overweight and that he is simply concerned about recruiting the wrong person.

“It can be seen as unfair, but hiring the wrong person can be fatal for a small business,” the IT manager said.

“My feeling is that really fat people, I mean guys who weigh 120 kilos, often perform worse and often have worse health than skinny people.”

Kicki Randmael, who lost 55 kilos after having an operation, said that her obesity cost her the chance to become a deacon within the Church of Sweden, as a bishop explained she wouldn’t be accepted to the training course because there was a risk she would suffer knee problems on account of her weight.

“I was totally shocked. I really couldn’t believe my ears,” Randmael told TT.

She said that, following her operation, she thinks people listen to her in a totally different way.

“It may be that I’m more radiant and occupy a different space now, but when I was overweight I was treated like I was less intelligent,” she said.

TT/The Local/dl

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Boys claim woman threatened them with ‘sex or deportation’

A woman who ran a refugee home in central Sweden is under investigation for sexual offences after two Afghan boys claimed she threatened them with deportation if they refused her advances.

Boys claim woman threatened them with 'sex or deportation'
File image of asylum seekers in a Migration Agency waiting room in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The boys, who have not been named, say the woman encouraged them to film her having sex with them, newspaper Eskilstuna Kuriren reports.

She then urged them to watch the films and to phone her when they missed her, they said. 

Eskilstuna Kuriren was given access to the films and believes they show the acts described by the boys, and that the woman can clearly be identified. She rejects the accusations.

The boys told Eskilstuna Kuriren they tried to inform social services and the police about what was happening but nobody listened to them.

They then went to the newspaper with their story on the advice of relatives living in another part of Sweden. 

“The boss at the home forced us into it and exploited us for sex. She knew we had to, and that nobody would help us,” one said. 

The boys say they had sex with the woman on four or five occasions, at a hotel and in her own home in the Sörmland region.

On one occasion all three were in bed together, they say, but mostly one of the boys had sex with the woman while the other filmed. 

The woman also offered the boys alcohol, they claim, saying it would help them enjoy the experience and despite them being under 18, the legal age for drinking alcohol. 

They allege that she promised to buy them clothes and toiletries if they had sex with her, but she also told them she would destroy important documents and get the migration agency to deport them if they turned her down.

They also faced sexual advances from other people in the woman’s social circle, they say. 

In an interview with Eskilstuna Kuriren one of the boys says they would be “stoned to death” if they ever went back to Afghanistan and their story got out. 

The boys were recently moved to a home in a different municipality. Local authorities there contacted the police after learning of their allegations. 

Police confirmed to the newspaper that an investigation into sexual offences was ongoing. They would not specify what the alleged offences were. 

The boys say they arrived in Sweden in November after they were urged by their families to flee Afghanistan and seek a better life.