Obesity ‘could be disability’

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Published: Thursday 18th December 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (2)

People who are obese could also be considered disabled, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

The judgment comes after the landmark case of a Danish childminder who was believed to be so fat he was unable to tie his own shoelaces, and was sacked by his employers four years ago.

The court, whose laws are binding throughout EU members states such as the UK, said obesity could be considered a disability if it “hinders the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers”.

The ruling could force widespread changes across Europe in the way employers deal with obese staff and what support they might be legally required to offer.

According to the World Health Organisation, whose definition was relied upon in court, a person is obese if their body mass index (BMI) is over 30. It is calculated by taking a person’s weight in kilograms and dividing it by the square of his or her height in metres.

The ruling has already raised serious concerns about the immediate and long-term impacts on employers in the UK, who may now need to take extra steps to cater to the needs of obese staff. This could include wider car parking spaces and changes to seats, desks and fire escapes.

National Obesity Forum spokesman Tam Fry said: “This has opened a can of worms for all employers in this country.

“They will be required to make adjustments to their furniture and doors and whatever is needed for very large people.

“I believe it will also cause friction in the workplace between obese people and other workers.”

Mr Fry said he expected member states to apply to challenge the ruling.

He added: ” This is the closest I’ve seen to the law being an ass.”

Published: Thursday 18th December 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (2)
  • bailey

    another great non event from the euro courts all it will do is stop fat people from getting jobs if I was an employer I would not take them on companys are under enough rules and regulations fat people don,t get fat through if they control there diet only a few have medical reasons I know a lot of over weight people all are like that because they stuff there face all day long

  • David Sloan

    Fat gang raid food bank, police have only crumbs of evidence to go on!

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