29 October 2010 #Employment
The employee had worked at McDonalds for over 12 years, and alleged he had suffered excessive weight gain, owing to him being asked to sample the products on sale, as well as being provided with a free lunch.
McDonalds have been granted leave to appeal the ruling.
So what is the law on obesity in the UK? There is no specific protection for obese employees. However if an employee`s obesity impacts the ability to carry out certain activities, it may be possible to claim that he or she is disabled under the Equality Act 2010, which could trigger a duty to make reasonable adjustments.
The Equality Act defines disability as a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on an individual`s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Whilst some conditions, such as alcoholism, are specifically excluded from protection, obesity is not, so it could fall within the definition. In any event, obesity can be caused by or lead to a number of conditions such as depression, or arthritis, which may themselves attract protection under the Equality Act.