This week, a group of men have reportedly been handing out fat-shaming cards to women on the London Underground. The cards said things like, “It’s really not glandular, it’s your gluttony.

A multinational study by the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy suggests that people are in fact considerably sensitive to weight prejudices — and that most of those surveyed would like to see increased laws and government policies to protect overweight people in the workplace.

Using online surveys, researchers canvassed nearly 3,000 adults in the U.S., Canada, Iceland, and Australia, examining levels of support for legal measures to address weight discrimination.

As it turned out, many people said they want more protections for their overweight colleagues. At least two-thirds of participants across all four countries support making it illegal for employers to refuse to hire, assign lower wages, deny promotions, or terminate workers because of their weight.

Respondents were more likely to champion anti-weight-discrimination laws if obesity is caused by numerous factors outside of personal control, such as the economics of food, genetics, or emotional triggers for overeating.

So when people have oversimplified notions about obesity, they are less likely to want to change the status quo. On the other hand, increased education may lead to increased empathy.