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Obesity Is Not Generally A “Disability” Under The ADA

The ADA gave regulatory bodies the ability to define disability.  The EEOC, for instance, defines “disability” as “any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more body systems, such as neurological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory (including speech organs), cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, immune, circulatory, hemic, lymphatic, skin, and endocrine.”  Notably, EEOC’s guidance regarding the definition of “disability” specifically note that many physical characteristics are not a “disability” unless the result of a physiological disorder. Many courts have relied on this definition and guidance to find that obesity is not a disability.  However, at least one court found that severe obesity alone qualified as a “disability” under the ADA.   Beeman Law will stay attune to further developments regarding this case law.


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