– Did you know it’s illegal in Binghamton for employers to discriminate against fat people? The city passed a law in 2008 that is now the subject of a study by a Vanderbilt University researcher. The Binghamton law also forbids discriminating on the basis of height.
Researcher Jennifer Shinall said it’s too early to tell if the Binghamton law is working. But the Binghamton law lacks a component of effective weight discrimination laws. It doesn’t have a commission for people to bring complaints and find relief.
Shinall found that commissions in Urbana, Illinois and Madison, Wisconsin have made a difference.
According to her research, efforts to combat workplace weight discrimination in Urbana and Madison have worked because it’s easier for people who feel they’re victims of obesity discrimination to seek relief in those locations.
“Discrimination victims who wish to file a complaint (in Urbana and Madison) must go through the local commission’s process,” Shinall said. “The commissions handle the complaints entirely, so complainants do not need a lawyer.”
Shinall found that federal laws including morbid obesity as a disability were not effective in helping people find employment.
In case you were wondering, Binghamton’s obesity rate is 37.6 percent, making it the second-fattest metro area in the United States.
– When we learned Destiny USA won’t have to pay property taxes for 30 years, that was pretty bad. But now we’re learning the Syracuse mall gets reimbursed from the state for property taxes it doesn’t pay!
– RCSD superintendent Bolgen Vargas will get less time off than his predecessor and he has to give the district 12 months notice before resigning.
– Plastic-filled furniture that burns quickly has prompted the New York City Fire Department to rethink the way it fights fires. Ventilating a roof may actually fuel a fire rather than calm it. The department is conducting an experiment burning down vacant houses. The New York Times reports the results could impact firefighting across the country:
Plastic fillings in sofas and mattresses burn much faster than older fillings like cotton, helping to transform the behavior of house fires in the last few decades, firefighters and engineers say.
With more plastic in homes, residential fires are now likely to use up all the oxygen in a room before they consume all flammable materials. The resulting smoky, oxygen-deprived fires appear to be going out. But they are actually waiting for an inrush of fresh air, which can come as firefighters cut through roofs and break windows.
– A little girl who got lost was too scared to ask strangers for help. Meanwhile, adults looking for her were on the lookout for a “suspicious mustached man.”
– Anderson Cooper is out. He writes poignantly about revealing he is gay.