0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Can obesity be a disability?

18 July 2014

The number of people suffering from obesity in the UK has trebled over the last 25 years. But does obesity fall within the definition of disability under the Equal Treatment Framework Directive?

According to the Advocate General in his opinion in Kaltoft v The Municipality of Billund, it could but only if severe. The Advocate General pointed out that the directive covers physical and mental impairments which make “carrying out of that job or participation in professional life objectively more difficult and demanding”. His view was that a BMI of over 40 (WHO class III), impacting on mobility, endurance and mood would hinder an individual’s participation in professional life to such an extent as to amount to a disability.

Therefore if you have an employee who is severely obese (BMI of over 40) you may have to consider whether the organisation is under a duty to make reasonable adjustments.

Related opinions

Symptoms of menopause can constitute a disability

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) recently found that an employment tribunal was wrong to strike out a claim on grounds that menopausal symptoms did not amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010 (Rooney v Leicester City Council).

View blog

Employment Appeal Tribunal rules no entitlement to pay for zero-hour worker during a period of suspension

In a recent case the Employment Appeal Tribunal determined that, as a zero-hour worker, the Claimant was not entitled to be paid whilst he was suspended pending an investigation into an allegation of misconduct.

View blog

Flexible working and leave for carers

The Government has launched a consultation today on potential changes to the statutory flexible working regime.

View blog

World Patient Safety Day 2021 - safe maternal and newborn care

Given the ongoing scrutiny of maternity services following publication of the Ockenden preliminary report in December 2020, it is timely that World Patient Safety Day on 17 September 2021 has a focus on safe maternal and newborn care.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up