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EU court rules obesity is a disability. Chubs must be given lighter work loads.


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In Europe, obesity is a disability: Court ruling forces companies to offer overweight staff lighter work loads


Under an EU court ruling, obesity can constitute a disability when "it hinders the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers."

Being fat is a disability, EU judges have ruled, meaning that companies in Europe must offer obese staff bigger chairs, special parking spaces and a lighter work load.

Thursday’s judgment by the European Court of Justice means that fatness “can constitute a disability” under EU equality at work legislation – a ruling that is legally binding for all British employers.

The ruling follows a case brought by Karsten Kaltoft, a Danish childminder, who claimed he was sacked because he was overweight.

At the time of his dismissal, Mr. Kaltoft weighed about 160 kilograms and had a body mass index (BMI) of 54.

Mr. Kaltoft, who now works as a lorry driver, hailed the ruling as victory against his former employer, the local authority in the Danish town of Billund, which claimed he was unable to perform his childminding duties.

“It is good that we now recognize that obesity can be a disability, and I hope that the municipality realizes that it was not okay to fire me,” Mr. Kaltoft said.

“I never saw it as a requirement that I needed to lose weight and never had a feeling that it could cost me the job.”

Following his legal victory, British employers will have to bear the costs of litigation and of finding ways to ensure that overweight workers are not placed at any disadvantage.

Lawyers have described the ruling as a “real problem” for businesses because EU judges did not define at what level of clinical or severe obesity a worker could be classed as disabled.

“This ruling is a real problem for employers. It’s still not clear enough for them to be sure that they’re going to be on the right side of the law,” said Julian Hemming, an employment partner at law firm Osborne Clarke.

Bosses could face litigation from obese employees who claim their work, especially in manual jobs, is too demanding and requires special treatment or equipment to help them.

“This test could mean that businesses face claims from obese staff for failing to make reasonable adjustments to their role; tasks that require full mobility such as stacking shelves in a supermarket, for example,” warned Mr. Hemming.

“They also need to consider whether doing so could trigger related claims from other members of staff who feel that their obese colleague is ’getting away’ with doing less work or ’avoiding’ manual tasks and that they are doing more of this work as a result.”

The EU court declined to define what level of BMI, which takes into account height and weight to calculate the degree of obesity, is required to class someone as disabled, ruling that such decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned that businesses could face extra costs and litigation as obese workers sue employers amid confusion over when obesity can be defined as a disability. Neil Carberry, the CBI director for employment and skills, said: “It is unclear from the ruling what it would be reasonable to expect employers to do, so the Government will need to work with businesses to establish clear guidelines and avoid unfair costs being levied on firms.”

Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of Business for Britain, a campaign group, described the EU judgment as “daft.”

“This ruling could place a huge burden on U.K. businesses, with employers forced to pick up the bill for the increased waistlines of their workforce,” he said.

Under the EU ruling, obesity can constitute a disability when “it hinders the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers.”

Important to the ruling, is the EU court’s judgment that the origin of the disability is irrelevant even if obesity is caused by overeating or gluttony.

The Danish municipality that sacked Mr. Kaltoft had argued that he was not protected by equality legislation because his “clinical obesity is self-inflicted.”

Nick de Bois, co-chairman of the Commons all-party parliamentary group on public health, said: “It seems to me the court is overlooking the role of personal responsibility.”



The inmates are running the asylum. So glad my parents left England/EU and moved to Canada when I was an infant.

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Quite appropriate for this thread.........

The Death Of Common Sense


Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;

- Why the early bird gets the worm;

- Life isn't always fair; and

- Maybe it was my fault..

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:

I Know My Rights

I Want It Now

Someone Else Is To Blame

I'm A Victim

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.. If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

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It's already happening here.

All you have to do is fill out a card and the government will pay for half or more of your mobility assistance device.

IE scooters you see in Walmart.

Just...unreal. I don't care what anyone says, it is not a disability any more than being an idiot or generally stupid is. It is entirely self caused 99% of the time.

Gods...I just have no real words.

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Just...unreal. I don't care what anyone says, it is not a disability any more than being an idiot or generally stupid is. It is entirely self caused 99% of the time.

Gods...I just have no real words.


This is ridiculous. If it's a disability, then it's a self caused one and all fat people need trauma counseling I guess...

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Simple solution. Don't hire fat people.

Precisely. This encourages "discrimination". I used the quotations because it's not actually discrimination if people choose to live the lifestyle that causes obesity. Next I will have to offer extra breaks and a lowered work load for smokers. It's fairly easy to not be obese. Perhaps the education on health in school needs to be updated.

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I have no issue with providing the right materials (i.e. a comfortable office chair so that someone obese can have a suitable work environment... just like anyone else should). But, what ever happened to equal pay for equal work?

Lighter workloads! :picard:

Not at all surprised... euro-socialism at work.

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First of all using BMI to measure obesity is ridiculous and stupid.

Second of all, does this mean I can go apply to be a doctor (I've never gone to medical school) and then claim the job is too difficult and demand they make it easier, when really I'm just unqualified and undereducated?

My lifestyle is far from perfect yet it's not that difficult to avoid being obese to the point you can hardly move.

I wonder what people who have been disabled through disease, genetics, accidents, assault, war, etc. think of this.

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