Readers will recall recent reports in the press about whether a person who is obese can be a"disabled person" for that reason under the Equality Act. To recap a person is a disabled person within the meaning of the Equality Act if they suffer from a physical and mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

It is clear that obesity can be so severe that it has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on an employee's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. However, obesity is not a disability in itself; its effect has to be considered. In extreme cases obesity can affect mobility. Its effect on mobility can render someone disabled within the Act. Similarly obesity can give rise to medical conditions (organ failure, diabetes for example) which could bring them within the protection of the Act.



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