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This Article looks critically at heightism, i.e., prejudice or discrimination against a person on the basis of his or her height. Although much scholarship has focused on other forms of trait-based discrimination—most notably weight and appearance discrimination, both of which indirectly involve height as a component—little has focused on “pure” height discrimination. Nevertheless, within the past five years courts, scholars, and legislatures have increasingly tackled these non-traditional forms of discrimination. As such, this Article endeavors to fill the gap in the existing scholarship.

This Article specifically focuses on heightism in the workplace, with an emphasis on prejudice against short people because of the unique disadvantages they face vis-à-vis their taller counterparts. It examines the ways that existing federal antidiscrimination laws—namely Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990—do and do not protect against height-based prejudice in the workplace. Moreover, after briefly examining state and local remedies for height discrimination, including state antidiscrimination laws, this Article considers but ultimately rejects enacting a federal law that would flatly prohibit all height-based employment decisions. Although a comprehensive prohibition would be easiest to administer, such a prohibition would prove both gratuitous and unwise. Instead, this Article recommends modest changes to federal regulations and increased state and local enforcement.

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2009 Utah Law Review 907-953 (2009)