essential job functions

Is Obesity Considered a Disability?


The short answer is yes. Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) has declared obesity to be a disease. This has implications for employers, since obesity may now also be considered a disability in certain circumstances.

Given the broader definition of disability under the ADA Amendments Act, many persons who have been diagnosed for obesity as a disease may well fall within the definition of being currently or actually disabled. The question will be: does that person’s obesity substantially limit one or more major life functions? If the answer is yes, then the employer’s obesity may be considered a disability. Given that endocrine system function is one example that could be affected for someone who is obese, likely the answer will be yes based on this alone.

What Does it Mean for Employers if Obesity is a Disability?
One of the biggest ramifications is that the ADA will now prohibit discrimination against an applicant or employee because of his or her obesity. It will also mean that employers will be required to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees who are obese to perform essential job functions. And it will also prohibit retaliation against obese individuals requesting reasonable accommodation for obesity.

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The Law Offices of Payab & Associates is a Los Angeles based law firm founded by David Payab, Esq., with more than 17 years of experience in employment cases. Our office has successfully litigated many complex disputes including wrongful termination, sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage and labor disputes, and retaliation cases.

Are you or anyone you know been discriminated at work? Contact the Law Offices of Payab & Associates @ (800) 401-4466 or visit if you have any questions regarding your rights at the workplace.