Does Being Fat Make You Disabled?

Suzanne Robertson
EU's highest court made the ruling. You can't be fired for being disabled...but what about getting sacked if you're too fat?

A case claiming fat discrimination was brought before the European Court of Justice and this week's result might astound you. EU's highest court has ruled that obesity can constitute a disability in certain circumstances. 

The case centers around a child caregiver who weighs approximately 350 pounds.  After he was fired, Karsten Kaltoft brought the case against his employers of 15 years,  Billund local authority. Kaltoft says he was let go because he was overweight. The employer claims that a decrease in children enrolled was the cause. 

It was reported that he was unable to bend down to tie children's shoelaces because of his weight. However, earlier this year, he told the BBC that those reports were untrue.

Describing his work with children, he said: "I can sit on the floor and play with them, I have no problems like that.

The ECJ ruled that if the obesity of the worker "hinders the full and effective participation of that person in professional life on an equal basis with other workers", then obesity can fall within the concept of "disability".

Rulings from the European Court of Justice are binding for all EU member nations. The courts in Denmark will now have to assess Mr Kaltoft's weight to see if his case can be classed as a disability.

Ironically, the man who brought the case disagrees with the decision. 

"I don't see myself as disabled. It's not OK just to fire a person because they're fat, if they're doing their job properly."

The ruling is getting negative reviews on the web like the tweet below.