Obesity Disability Discrimination

News & Analysis as of

“Weight Watchers”— Weight Discrimination in the Workplace

Seyfarth Synopsis: ‘Tis the season of food temptation: the average American gains at least five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. California employers need to beware of weight discrimination in the fluctuating...more

Recent Disability Discrimination Cases Outline Employer Responsibilities

Two recent decisions regarding disability discrimination have outlined an employer’s responsibilities when dealing with a potential claim of disability and need for accommodation. These decisions offer reminders for...more

Asleep at the Wheel: Trucking Company’s Sleep Apnea Policy and Procedures Reviewed by Federal Courts

Seyfarth Synopsis: Recently decided court case finds that motor vehicle carriers may lawfully require overweight drivers to submit to a medical examination testing for obstructive sleep apnea. We had previously blogged...more

Obesity and the Americans With Disabilities Act

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court denied a petition for review from a case holding that morbid obesity, without an underlying physiological condition, is not a “disability” under The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)....more

Is Obesity a Disability Under the ADA Not Without Physical Impairment Eighth Circuit Rules

Obesity does not meet the definition of a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for either the discrimination or “regarded as” provisions of the statute, a panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals...more

Morbid Obesity Must Have Physiological Cause to Gain ADA Protection

Since the Americans with Disabilities Act was adopted, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has considered morbid obesity to fall within the definition of a protected disability. Earlier this month, the Eighth Circuit...more

Courts Cut the Fat, Clarify When Obesity is a Disability Under the ADA

The ADA prohibits discrimination based upon actual or perceived medical disabilities and requires employers to accommodate employees with disabilities subject to certain exceptions. The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 effectively...more

Obesity Alone as a Disability? Slim Chance, Says Eighth Circuit

A memorable scene from the dark comedy “In Bruges” features a clash between a disgraced Irish assassin, played by Colin Farrell, and three portly American tourists after Farrell’s character warns them not to climb the narrow...more

Obesity Not A Disability Without An Underlying Medical Cause

In June of last year, we pondered whether obesity is a mere physical characteristic or a disability protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as now amended by the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act...more

Question #274: Opining on Obesity

Question: We have a large meat processing facility in Northern Minnesota. We were recently hiring for one of our positions in the plant requiring work with large mechanical equipment. Because we consider this position to be...more

Eighth Circuit Holds That Obesity That Is Not Caused By an Underlying Physiological Condition Is Not a Covered “Impairment” Under...

In Morriss v. BNSF Railway Company, the Eighth Circuit recently held that obesity that is not caused by an underlying physiological condition is not a covered “impairment” for purposes of the Americans with Disabilities Act...more

Retaliation Weigh-in – Don’t Be the Biggest Loser

While watching the Biggest Loser may be entertaining or even inspiring, dealing with an overweight employee may be a human resources nightmare. A person’s weight is a delicate topic in almost any conversation. When an...more

What Tips the Scale? Obesity as a Perceived Disability Under the ADA

Employers often call with questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as they navigate when and how to make reasonable accommodations for employees with known disabilities. Most are generally familiar with the...more

Something is Rotten at the Pork Roll Company … and it’s not the Pork Rolls: Flatulent Employee (and his Wife) Bring Claims for...

Is passing gas now protected by our anti-discrimination laws? Over the past several years, we have written extensively about the possibility of obesity discrimination lawsuits becoming the next wave of disability...more

Obesity, Mere Physical Characteristic or Disability Protected Under Law?

It is no secret that the U.S. has a weight problem. We all hear the news about how American waistlines continue to expand, the various theories behind what is causing the trend and endless advice to reverse it. The American...more

Morbid Obesity is Not a Disability in Kentucky – For Now

There’s no question that obesity is a national health crisis, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that more than a third of adults in the U.S. are obese. In 2013, the American Medical Association...more

Obesity can be a disability, ECJ confirms

Ben Gorner, a Partner in our Birmingham office, comments: As we reported in Be Aware on 1 July and 18 July, the ECJ was recently asked in the case of Kaltoft v Kommunernes Landsforening to consider whether obesity should be...more

Ugh! – Does this ADA Claim Make Me Look Fat?

We are all familiar with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA prohibits discrimination based upon actual or perceived medical disabilities, and the ADA requires employers to accommodate employees with disabilities...more

Employers, Check Your Weight-Bias: Obesity, Disability, And The Broadened Coverage Of The ADAAA

A study released by the Center for Disease Control in August 2012 estimates that 32 percent of adults in Alabama are obese. Alabama regularly appears in the Top Five of the list of “heaviest states,” currently weighing in at...more

Quirky Question #209, Obesity as a Disability under MT Law

We are in Montana and a very obese woman recently applied for a manager position. The position is more physical than most in that there is significant walking between facilities, and the candidate must climb ladders to view...more

Michigan District Court Dismisses Disability Disparate Impact Class Claim

Class action lawsuits alleging disability discrimination are uncommon, and those involving disparate impact claims are less common still. This is due, in part, to the fact that unlike other types of discrimination claims, a...more

Legal Alert: Obesity Is A Disease, But Is It A Disability?

The American Medical Association's (AMA's) declaration that obesity is a disease could open the door to a new wave of lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ...more

Will Obesity Claims Be the Next Wave of ADA Litigation?

In a new federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Whittaker v. America's Car-Mart, Inc., the plaintiff is alleging his former employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)...more

Labor Letter, February 2013: How To Weigh Obesity In Employment Decisions

Imagine you are the Hiring Manager for a distribution warehouse and have just begun interviewing applicants for a materials handler position. The first candidate enters the room, standing at a height of 5’4”, weighing more...more

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