Obese employees and discrimination: the verdict on obese employees hangs in the balance
Against a backdrop of soaring levels of obesity, employers are waiting on the outcome of a European court ruling that may mean special treatment has to be given to employees whose weight is causing them problems in the workplace.
Since 1993, obesity levels have doubled, with statistics showing that a quarter of the current UK population is obese, and the problem continues to grow. And now it looks as though the weight of the so-called ‘morbidly obese’ — who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or over — could be felt by employers too.
The Danish case of Kaltoft v Municipality of Billund is currently being considered by the European court, in which an ex-childminder has claimed that his employer terminated his contract of employment because of his weight, and that this amounted to unlawful discrimination. Mr Kaltoft was 5ft 7in and weighed more than 25 stone, giving him a BMI of 54, which is extreme or morbid obesity under the World Health Organization classification…
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