KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — A woman accused Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) of rescinding its offer of an “executive” position to her because her body mass index (BMI) indicated she was obese.
Malaysiakini reported that the state utilities company cancelled the offer to the 27-year-old applicant after a compulsory medical check-up found that her BMI was 38. The World Health Organization (WHO) roughly defines obesity in adults as a BMI of 30 or higher.
Before the medical report came out, which still found her “suitable” for the position, the applicant reportedly claimed that a TNB human resources manager had informed her that she was selected for an “executive” position after a panel interview last month.
“There is no nexus between my body weight and my work performance.
“It doesn’t matter what size a person is and it shouldn’t matter. No one should go through this,” the unidentified woman was quoted saying.
She also reportedly alleged that she was not informed during the candidate selection process about the company’s supposed BMI requirement of below 30.
“Companies should focus on the merits and professional work qualities of a candidate without subjecting them to any form of discrimination be it race, gender, sexual orientation or even size.
“Being fat is not a liability and has zero co-relation with my work performance,” she was quoted saying.
Malaysia’s employment legislation currently does not prohibit discrimination.
Updated 9.00 pm
Tenaga Nasional has responded to the allegation that it has rejected a job applicant based on her BMI.
It has indicated that she was rejected for other undisclosed reasons.
In an email to Malaysiakini, it said that it was not TNB’s practice to discriminate against people with high BMI levels. The company has previously recruited individuals with similar health issues.
However, an earlier communication from TNB indicated that BMI “was not the only reason why she was not offered the job”. This was later clarified as a “typo”.
TNB indicated that offer letters were issued to three individuals out of 16 who were considered for the position. An offer letter was not issued to the applicant who alleged that she was discriminated against.