Is Obesity A Disability Under the NJ Law Against Discrimination

By Thomas McKinney

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.

About the Author
Tom McKinney is an experienced NJ Employment Lawyer in all major areas of labor and employment law, including discrimination, harassment, overtime violations, wage and hour claims, sexual harassment, wrongful discharge, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, FMLA, LAD, FLSA, and all other employment law claims. Tom is admitted to practice in the States of New Jersey and New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, District of New Jersey, and United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Prior to forming the firm, Tom practiced at Gibbons P.C. in Newark, NJ. If you have any questions regarding this article, contact Tom here today.