European Court terms obesity as a disability

According to the news, the European Court of Justice has declared obesity as a disability.

This decision would affect how employers are dealing with their obese employees. This rule is now bound to EU and implications have been made in employment law such that it is predicted that the nations attached to it would  challenge this rule.

The court declared this during the case of a Danish childcare employee, Karsten Kaltoft, who was 350 pounds in weight and according to him, he was kicked out of the job because he was obese.

The ruling said that if obesity comes in between activities and hinders to efficiently participating in professional life then it can be termed as a disability.

Kaltoft’s lawyer, Jacob Sand explains that according to the ruling, employers would be obligated to fulfill the requirements of their obese employees who are now termed disabled, considering the fact that discrimination on the basis of disability is said to be illegal in European Union law.

According to this, obese employee would be provided with parking area near the workplace, change in the desks of workers and any other changes that need to be made.

This decision by European Court would now pose problem for employers in some EU nations to take jobs away from overweight staff members.

Kaltoft said “It is a good ruling in my case and I am happy about it,”. He is fighting for compensation of 15 months worth of his salary. He had been working in child care for 15 years for the Municipality of Billund in Denmark when later he was fired in 2010. According to municipality, they fired Kaltoft because children that were being served were reduced in number.

The European Court of Justice pronounced that Danish courts would now come to a conclusion regarding Kaltoft’s obese physique.

According to UK’s Obesity Forum National spokesman Tam Fry, it is worrisome because this ruling might create friction between obese people and rest of the workers in the workplace. He also said that he expects that EU nation members would stand up against this ruling.



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