Obesity and Disability

Just over a year ago, I wrote a blog about whether obesity can be a disability. 

The issue has now been considered by the Advocate General in the case of Kaltoft v Municipality of Billund.

The court was asked to decide whether Mr Kaltoft met the definition of disability under the Equal Treatment Framework Directive. He was 1.72 metres tall (5 foot 8) and weighed over 160 kilograms (25 stone 3 pounds). The Advocate General concluded that in some cases obesity can amount to a disability, but only if the individual is morbidly obese. To meet this criteria, an individual has to have a Body Mass Index of 40 or over. The obesity would also have to hinder the individual’s full participation in working life.

This will be a worrying development for employers as this may mean that they are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for employees with a BMI of 40+. This might involve modifying their duties, providing different work equipment or allowing them to park close to their workplace.

For more information
For more advice about this or any other employment law issue please get in touch with Bedford employment solicitor Andrew Buckely on 01234 270600.

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