Email Us 01473 688 100

Case Law

Are very fat employees protected against workplace discrimination?

This was the question answered in this Danish case last month by the ECJ when it ruled that being seriously overweight may mean the employee has a disability. However, the ECJ confirmed that there is no general principle of EU law which prohibits discrimination on grounds of obesity – classified as having a body mass index of more than 30.

Karsten Kaltoft v Kommnernes Lansforening | December 2014

When will obesity be a disability?

The ECJ held that whilst being overweight did not give employees any special protection or rights, the effects of obesity may mean the employee qualifies for protection as a disabled person. This would be the case in the UK under our Equality Act 2010 if the employee has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out day-to-day activities. For example, diabetes or mobility problems may hamper an employee’s ability to live a normal life.

Whilst there was lots of overzealous media coverage, this ECJ judgment simply confirmed established UK case law of Walker v Sita Information Networking Computing Ltd where the Employment Appeal Tribunal in 2012 held that obesity does not itself qualify as a disability. Only the effects of obesity might make it more likely that a claimant qualifies as a ‘disabled person’ under the Equality Act 2010.

In practice

This is an area of discrimination law to keep an eye on. An employee who is obese and suffers from a medical or physical problem caused by being overweight may now be able to ask you to make reasonable adjustments to allow him to stay at work; or perhaps a capability issue that leads to dismissal may now be seen as discriminatory for a reason related to a disability.

In the right cases, reasonable adjustments may include the provision of a wider desk, an allocation of a wider car parking space or reduced fitness standards.

Book a phone consultation

Apply for a FREE phone consultation with one of our employment law solicitors to discuss your case, how we can help and find out how much it is likely to cost.

Selected evening and weekend appointments available.

Julie Temple

How can we
help you?

Our hourly rates are competitive and we all strive to work efficiently to avoid unnecessary legal costs for you.

01473 688100

Choose a phone consultation date & time Book a Phone
consultation
Request a call back Request
a Call Back
Complete our Tell Us About Your Case Form Case Details
Form

Tell us about your case

Our online form is the easy way to tell us about your case and employment details.

Short of time? Our ‘save and return’ feature lets you save your answers and complete the form later.

Becoming our client is a straightforward process. However, before choosing Quantrills as your employment law solicitors you’ll want to be completely sure we are the right people to help you achieve your objectives. Having looked at our web site, if you like our approach and would like to discuss how we can help you, getting started is easy.

Step 1

Get in Contact

Contact us and tell us a little about your problem and the help you are looking for.

Step 2

We’ll contact you

We’ll follow up with a free no obligation initial telephone call or email to discuss your case.

Step 3

Invitation to become our client

Provided we are happy we can help you, we’ll invite you to become our client.

Step 4

You instruct us

If you agree to our invitation, you simply have to confirm this is writing or by email and confirm your instructions.

Step 5

We’ll start to act for you

Congratulations! You are now a client of Quantrills and we’ll start work on your instructions.

At Quantrills we are flexible in how we work with you and how we progress your case...

In Person

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Get Directions

By Telephone

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

01473 688 100

Or request a call back

By Online Form

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

View Forms

By Email

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Email us

FREE Employer
Newsletter

Subscribe to our email based hrlegalnews to receive details of our Knowledge Bank & HR Updates updates and our forthcoming events.

Client Testimonials

View more

Becoming our client is a straightforward process. However, before choosing Quantrills as your employment law solicitors you’ll want to be completely sure we are the right people to help you achieve your objectives. Having looked at our web site, if you like our approach and would like to discuss how we can help you, getting started is easy.

Step 1

Get in Contact

Contact us and tell us a little about your problem and the help you are looking for.

Step 2

We’ll contact you

We’ll follow up with a free no obligation initial telephone call or email to discuss your case.

Step 3

Invitation to become our client

Provided we are happy we can help you, we’ll invite you to become our client.

Step 4

You instruct us

If you agree to our invitation, you simply have to confirm this is writing or by email and confirm your instructions.

Step 5

We’ll start to act for you

Congratulations! You are now a client of Quantrills and we’ll start work on your instructions.

At Quantrills we are flexible in how we work with you and how we progress your case...

In Person

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Get Directions

By Telephone

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

01473 688 100

Or request a call back

By Online Form

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

View Forms

By Email

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.

Email us