Thursday, 17 July 2014

Obesity may constitute a 'disability'

The Advocate General has, today, issued an opinion on this point in Kaltoft v The Municipality of Billund.

The opinion considered whether obesity fell within the definition of a disability.  The Advocate General pointed out the EU definition of disability covers the situation when a physical or mental condition makes "carrying out of that job or participation in professional life objectively more difficult and demanding. Typical examples of this are handicaps severely affecting mobility or significantly impairing the senses such as eye-sight or hearing."

He expanded on his initial thoughts:

"cases where the condition of obesity has reached a degree that it, in interaction with attitudinal and environmental barriers, as mentioned in the UN Convention, plainly hinders full participation in professional life on an equal footing with other employees due to the physical and/or psychological limitations that it entails, then it can be considered to be a disability."

Watch this space for test cases in UK tribunals.

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