Employers will need to review circumstances for obese employees whose weight is causing them problems in the workplace, following a landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice.
The Court has ruled that if the obesity of a worker “hinders the full and effective participation of that person in professional life on an equal basis with other workers”, then obesity can fall within the concept of “disability”. The decision is binding across the European Union and creates a precedent that is likely to have a major impact on employment rights in the UK.
Although the judgment stops short of declaring obesity to be a protected characteristic against which all discrimination is prohibited, it means employers, retailers and venues open to the public will have to review the way they treat overweight staff and customers.
In the UK, obesity levels have doubled in the past decade and statistics show that around one in four people are overweight. There was a marked increase in the proportion of adults that were obese between 1993 and 2012 from 13.2 per cent to 24.4 per cent among men and from 16.4 per cent to 25.1 per cent among women.
Read the full article here: European Court weighs in on obesity