According to a UK-based employment law consultancy, bosses would rather employ the thinner of two candidates, especially if the job involves working with the public.
The Protecting.co.uk company says that not only are managers concerned about their company image, but they also think that obese people are more likely to have health problems that might mean they end up taking more time off work.
Its research found that up to nine out of 10 managers with responsibility for recruiting staff would not hire a candidate who is obese. And this could cause problems, Protecting suggested, given the recent European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruling that obesity can in some extreme cases be a disability.
"It looks like weightism is becoming one of the last bastions of discrimination in the workplace," Protecting spokesman Mark Hall said, "and it's proving to be a make-or-break for people applying for jobs, no matter how well qualified they are."
One manager's views were typical of many who were surveyed by Protecting.co.uk: "Of course I'd go for the healthier-looking candidate. If you're too lazy to look after yourself, why should I employ you?"
Managers working in retail and public-facing business sectors are particularly reluctant to employ anyone who is obese, although most would only give their views on condition of anonymity so are presumably aware that it might be difficult to justify such a stance.