The European Union's highest court has ruled that obesity can be considered a 'disability' if it hinders the overweight person's performance at work.
The European Court of Justice had been asked by a Danish court to consider the case of a child minder in Denmark who said he was fired four years ago because he is obese.
AdvertisementThe employee, Karsten Kaltoft, filed a suit to obtain damages and interests from the municipality of Billund who employed him as a child minder, claiming he was the victim of discrimination.
The Danish court asked the Luxembourg court whether EU law itself prohibits discrimination on grounds of obesity and whether obesity can be considered a disability.
The EU court ruled that "no general principle of EU law prohibits, in itself, the discrimination on grounds of obesity."
But it said the "condition falls within the concept of 'disability' where...it hinders the full and effective participation of the person concerned in professional life on an equal basis with other workers."
The EU court said it is up to the Danish court to "determine whether Kaltoft's obesity falls within the definition of disability."