Indication that obesity may become a form of disability

The UK has recently referred a case to the European Court of Justice for a ruling to be made, as to whether an obese employee may be afforded discrimination protection if they receive unfair treatment as a result of their obesity.

The Advocate General has stated that the EU Directives do not exclude obesity from the meaning of disability and thus it could possibly be considered to be a disability. They were careful to note that this should only apply to persons who are extreme, severe to morbidly obese having a BMI of over 40.

This is only an opinion, and thus should not be considered legal precedent at this stage. The ECJ are yet to make a ruling on the case in question, however if they agree with the Advocate General’s opinion, obesity will be considered a disability and thus UK Employers will have to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate obese employees.

We will keep you updated when the ECJ ruling comes out.



Published: 04 Aug 2014


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