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Severe Obesity may be a disability

The Advocate General of The European Court of Justice has given the opinion, that whereas EU law does  not prohibit discrimination on the grounds of obesity, those suffering from “severe” obesity may be able to claim protection from discrimination on the basis that it amounts to a disability.  He has indicated that “severe” obesity would be obesity with a body mass index of over 40 as this would hinder an individual’s participation in professional life to such an extent as to amount to a disability.

Mr Richard Green, Employment Partner of QualitySolicitors Parkinson Wright, says that if the opinion is upheld by The European Court, and it usually is, then this would have a significant impact on employers.  Not only would they be unable to treat the obese less favourably because of their obesity but they would have to make reasonable adjustment to accommodate them.  This may include providing over-sized office chairs, lifts and special parking provisions.


For more information, please contact Richard Green on 01905 721630 or via email:

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