Is Obesity A Disability Under the NJ Law Against Discrimination

We have received several inquiries from potential clients regarding whether they can file a lawsuit for being treated differently or discriminated against at work for being obese or overweight. Recently, the EEOC in Texas filed a lawsuit against the company for terminating an employee for being obese. The employee began working for the company weighing 450 pounds and gained 200 more pounds while employed by the conpany. The employer determined that he was unable to perform the essential functions of his job. However, the employer did not enter into the interactive process to see if there was a reasonable accommodation that could be provided to him to accommodate his disability.

Although there is no ruling in New Jersey at this time stating that obesity is a disability, we do believe that you will see a case like this in the near future and obesity will be considered a disability.