Tag Archives: obesity

Ninth Circuit Dodges the Question of Whether Morbid Obesity is an “Impairment” Under the ADA; EEOC Says Yes

On August 20, 2019, the Ninth Circuit dodged answering the question of whether morbid obesity is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In Valtierra v. Medtronic Inc., No. 17-15282, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, but came short of joining the Second, Sixth, … Continue Reading

Court Again Approves Safety-Based Medical Examination without Individualized Assessment

Does an employer violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it requires an entire class of employees to undergo a medical examination without assessing each class member’s individual characteristics? Filling a relative void in case law, the Eighth Circuit recently said no – at least where the employer has credible safety concerns and seeks … Continue Reading

Obesity, Like a Neon Green Mohawk Hairdo, Not an Impairment under ADA

Rejecting an obese plaintiff’s claim that her employer “regarded” her weight as a physical impairment, a federal district court said that her obesity is no more an impairment that any other physical characteristic, such as, for example, an individual’s neon green mohawk.  Powell v. Gentiva Health Services, Inc. (S.D. AL, February 12, 2014). The court … Continue Reading

State Courts Disagree on Whether Morbid Obesity is a Disability

Appellate courts in two neighboring states—Kentucky and West Virginia—have reached different conclusions on whether obesity is a disability. In the Kentucky case, the plaintiff, who was approximately five feet four inches in height and weighed four hundred twenty-five pounds, claimed that her employer had unlawfully discriminated against her due to her morbid obesity in violation … Continue Reading

“Severe Obesity” is a Disability Under the ADA, Federal District Court Rules

“Severe obesity” is a disability under the ADA and a plaintiff need not prove an underlying physiological basis for it, according to a Louisiana federal court. The court denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment. EEOC v. Resources for Human Dev., E.D. La., 12/7/11). Noting that there is no federal law prohibiting discrimination based on … Continue Reading

Can Wellness Programs Address Growing Obesity Risks During Pregnancy?

Citing research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on June 5, 2010, the New York Times reported that one in five women are obese when they become pregnant.  The article states "obesity might be contributing to record-high rates of Caesarean section and leading to more birth defects and deaths for mothers and babies."  As well illustrated in the NYT … Continue Reading

The ADA Patchwork Lives On!

  As the ADA’s 20th anniversary nears, let’s revisit one of its lofty goals: to place a sweeping federal blanket over the patchwork of state and federal laws that protects individuals with disabilities. A recent Second Circuit opinion leaves no doubt that the patchwork lives on  In Spiegel v. Schulmann, decided on May 6, 2010, a karate … Continue Reading