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ECJ Hands Down Judgment in Obesity Discrimination Case

Lawyer Describes It As 'Significant' For Businesses

19.12.2014

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

The European Court of Justice has ruled that individuals who are obese could also be considered to be disabled.

The judgment relates to the case of Danish nursery worker, Karsten Kaltoft, who was sacked by his local authority, Billund Kommune, purportedly on the grounds of redundancy. Mr Kaltoft argued that this explanation was a sham and that he had been dismissed because he could not bend down to tie up a child’s shoe laces.

Karsten Kaltoft claimed he was discriminated against because of his size and weight and the Danish courts referred the issue to the ECJ.

The court, whose laws are binding throughout EU members states such as the UK, has said obesity could be considered a disability if it "hinders the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers".

Omer Simjee, Employment partner at Irwin Mitchell said:

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