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Discriminating Against Obese Employees

Court rules that severe obesity is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Key point 8-14.1. The federal Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers with at least 15 employees, and that are engaged in interstate commerce, from discriminating in any employment decision against a qualified individual with a disability who is able, with or without reasonable accommodation from the employer, to perform the essential functions of the job. Accommodations that impose an undue hardship upon an employer are not required. Religious organizations may give preference to nondisabled members of their faith over disabled persons who are members of a different faith.

A federal district court in Louisiana ruled that severe obesity is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A 400-pound woman (the "plaintiff") was hired to oversee a day care program for the children of mothers staying at a residential treatment facility for chemically dependent women and their ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • July 1, 2012

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