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?

When is obesity considered a disability?

19 December 2014

In the case of Kaltoft v Municipality of Billund, the European Court of Justice has decided that there are certain circumstances where it may be possible for an employee to show that they are disabled as a result of their obesity and will therefore be protected against disability discrimination. This is where the obesity is long-term and “hinder[s] the full and effective participation of that person in professional life”.

This is likely to only apply to those employees who are severely obese (Mr Kaltoft had a BMI of 54 and was classified as WHO class III). However, where an employee is considered a disabled person as a result of their obesity, employers may be under a duty to make reasonable adjustments as a result.

Related opinions

Evidence of guilt not always required for fair dismissal

This case offers particularly helpful guidance for employers when being faced with employees who are suspected of criminal wrongdoing, albeit care should always be given to ensure allegations are clearly defined and considered on their own merits.

View blog

Handing back an empty shell of a building did not prevent a tenant from exercising a break clause

Break rights have proved a fertile source of litigation over the last few years. More often than not, tenants have found themselves on the wrong end of the decisions. However, a Court of Appeal decision yesterday has bucked that trend.

View blog

Flexible working, childcare and indirect sex discrimination – important reminder

The courts have long recognised that, on a societal level, women bear a greater burden of childcare responsibilities than men which can make it more difficult for women to comply with employer requirements for flexible working (known as the ‘childcare disparity’).

View blog

The frontier worker permit

All EU citizens who were not residing in the UK by the end of December 2020 and want to live and work in the UK from 1 January 2021 must apply for a visa as a result of Brexit.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up