Obesity Hiring & Firing

News & Analysis as of

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

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

Is Obesity A “Per Se” Disability? One Court Says No.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled this week that obesity is not a “disability” within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act — even as amended in 2009 — unless the condition was...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

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

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

Employment Law -- Aug 13, 2013

EEOC Targets Cancer Discrimination - Filing two new lawsuits, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is cracking down on employers allegedly discriminating against workers with cancer. In Oklahoma the...more

The Employment Relationship: A Weighty Matter. #EmploymentLaw

Recently the United States was surpassed by Mexico as the most obese nation. Of course this doesn’t change the fact that many people in the United States are overweight. While reasonable minds may disagree as to the severity...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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