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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Workers Fired for Being Obese May Sue Bosses, Court Says

Today's post is shared from

Obese workers may claim discrimination in the workplace, the European Union’s highest court said in a case that will pave the way for severely fat people to be protected as disabled.

“That condition falls within the concept of disability where, under particular conditions, it hinders the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers,” the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg ruled today.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, according to the World Health Organization, which says at least 2.8 million people die each year as a result of being overweight or obese. People with a BMI of more than 25 are classified as overweight and a BMI of more than 30 is obese. As many as 30 percent of adults in Europe are obese, the WHO says.

Today’s case was triggered by Karsten Kaltoft, who sued the town of Billund, Denmark, after he was dismissed from his post in 2010. Kaltoft, whose weight was never less than 160 kilograms (353 pounds) at the time, had a high body mass index of 54, which classified him as obese. His public-sector employer denies that this was why he lost his job.

Kaltoft first took his case to a Danish court, which asked the EU tribunal to rule on whether obesity could be included as a reason for unlawful discrimination by employers. The Danish court will have decide on his firing in line with today’s ruling.

The case is: C-354/13, FOA, acting on behalf...
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