from the a-big-problem dept.
Employers in Europe may soon have a duty to create reserved car parking spaces for obese staff, or adjust the office furniture for them as BBC reports that the European Court of Justice is considering a test case of a male nanny who says he was fired for being too fat - a ruling that could oblige employers to treat obesity as a disability. Employment expert Audrey Williams says the judges would have to decide "whether obesity itself should trigger preferential rights, or should only impact where an individual, due to obesity, has other recognized medical issues. Employers would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace or working arrangements," says Williams. "This might include a review of where the employee is located and their seating arrangements, or even preferential access to car parking."
The US Equal Opportunity Commission already defines obesity as being a disability, under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act. In a recent case involving morbid obesity, a Texan employee who weighed more than 680 pounds received $55,000 in compensation for being dismissed. In October 2009, the man was told to report to human resources where officials told him the company had reached the conclusion he could no longer "perform his job duties because of his weight and he was therefore terminated," the suit said. Ronald Kratz, who had gotten two promotions and high performance ratings over his 16-year-career, insists his weight did not interfere with his ability to perform his job duties as a parts sorter. Kratz, who lost over three hundred pounds since he was fired, has not been able to find another job despite sending out numerous applications, and his unemployment benefits have run out. "It has been really hard on the family."