Ellen Frankel stands just 4-foot-8 1/2 inches tall, a size that allowed larger co-workers to playfully scoop her up at the office and make remarks about her height. Some even patted her on the head.
Lawmakers are considering complaints such as hers as they review a bill that would make Massachusetts just the second state to bar discrimination based on height or weight.
“People in authority will very easily make comments about height that they wouldn’t make about race or gender,” said Frankel, a Marblehead author.
Jeanne Toombs understands the frustration. She says overweight people routinely are discriminated against because of their size.
“It’s not fair. No matter what you think of fat people, they deserve to be treated like human beings,” said Toombs, 59, a piano teacher who weighs 300 pounds and is on the board of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.
The proposed law does not define short or fat. It would apply mainly to the workplace but also to landlords and real estate transactions.