This weekend, at our Curvy Noire event we hosted with blogger Maui Bigelow, Nikki Free, the moderator for the day’s panel spoke about her experiences of size discrimination at work. She said that while her colleagues would never dream of insulting someone based on their race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, jokes and insults about a person’s size or body type were fair game.
An incident regarding a Black woman’s weight happened recently in Houston, Texas and she found that there was no way to address her grievances for what she considered unjust treatment.
According to ABC Chicago, Tina Lewis was told, at the Rose Nails salon, that she was too big for a pedicure.
Security cameras showed Lewis and her mother entering the salon and then leaving after a brief interaction with the staff.
Lewis told the Chicago ABC affiliate, “”I was like, ‘Can I get a pedicure? And what chair do I sit in?’ And (the employee) was like, the chairs were not big enough for me to sit in. And I was like, ‘Are you serious?’”
Marie Bui, an employee at Rose Nails, is the woman who spoke to Lewis. She told ABC 13, “I said, ‘I’m sorry I cannot serve you because my spa chair is very small.”
But said she did not mean to offend Lewis but explained that another customer damaged one of their pedicure chairs and they believe it had something to do with the previous customer’s size. Bui said, “After that, the spa chair and the machine broke underneath.”
Lewis said the shop should post a sign mentioning weight restrictions.
Bui said that the chairs cost a couple of hundred dollars and they can’t afford repairs so they have to take these measures.
Lewis said she doesn’t believe this explanation and she has no plans to return to Rose Nails.
While this sounds like a clear cut case of discrimination, an attorney told the station “heavy people are not protected under the law like race or gender and the salon can legally refuse service.
Lewis said she felt the whole thing was disrespectful and could have been handled in a different way.