Should Obesity Be Considered A Disability?

Pag_R29_042414_RAW-765_FernandaSilvaPhotographed By Fernanda Silva.
As the number of people struggling with obesity continues to rise around the world, governments are faced with the increasingly complex problem of helping these individuals deal with the unique challenges they face. Case in point: Discrimination against overweight and obese individuals in the workplace. While weight-based bias is well-documented in many countries, legislation is only just beginning to address the issue.
Advertisement
This week, for example, the highest court in the European Union is hearing a case brought by a babysitter who says he was fired because he was obese. Judges in the case will be forced to decide whether obesity itself can be considered a disability, independent of any other medical issues. If so, victims will have more recourse to sue for discrimination or wrongful termination, while employers could be legally forced to accommodate the needs of obese employees, according to the BBC.
Similar cases are currently changing the course of discrimination law here in the U.S., as well. Just a few months ago, after a man sued his employer for discrimination and wrongful termination (and after a policy shift by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), federal district court in Missouri ruled that obesity can be legally considered a disability. The semantic implications of defining obesity as a "disability" notwithstanding, the fact that we're moving in a direction of increased legal agency for victims of weight bias is a good thing. Of course, as with all things in the legal universe, how long it will take remains an open question.
Advertisement

More from Trends

Nearly a month after Selena Gomez announced she would be taking time off from work to focus on her ongoing battle with lupus, her friend Michael B. ...
Earlier this year, it was reported that women are having kids later than ever — and now we may know why. According to research from the Fertility ...
With the ubiquity of the Dougie, the whip, and the New Jersey running man in popular culture, many have probably accepted these dances as mere trends. In...
In Status: Stressed, Refinery29 is teaming up with Secret, the expert in stress sweat, to have an honest, passionate conversation about the role of stress...
One mom has a bone to pick with modern-day parenting, and it all has to do with vitamins. In a now-viral Facebook post, Bunmi Laditan lamented the ...
Can you boost your self-esteem just by changing the way you stand? For years, a few scientists — most recognizably one by the name of Amy Cuddy, PhD (...
You probably already know that Donald Trump has a record of making sexist comments. But a new ad from Hillary Clinton's campaign powerfully highlights ...
(Paid Content) In this age of label-aversion, hookup apps, and social-media flirtation (nothing says romance like a DM, right?), few would disagree that ...
When photographer Roger Kisby shot the Adult Video News Awards for the first time last year, he wasn't sure what to expect. Once there, he was drawn to the...
This article was originally published on April 8, 2016. Photographer Marcos Alberti's photo project, 3 Glasses Later, could be considered a probing ...
It was the breakup heard 'round the world: On Tuesday, we learned that Brangelina was officially no more. Then, as we were all recovering from the news, ...
Many of us can probably remember being told at some point during grade school that the pesky little boy who won't stop pulling on our pigtails or throwing ...
It's hard enough to remember to smile every once in a while, let alone stay positive when someone tells you to "go fuck yourself." But that's exactly ...
Last Sunday, new mother Anna Young posted a photo of herself, taken during a half-marathon, to the breast-feeding advocacy Facebook group, Occupy ...