Can my employer require me to come up with an action plan for me to change my body weight? My employer has told me that our customer wants this action plan for various reasons. I objected and was then told it could be looked at as a safety issue. I have been to the doctor and have been told by my doctor that besides my asthma and my vitamin D being a little low I am in very good health. Is this legal, and do I have any recourse to get them to stop?
Ann Kiernan replies:
Call a lawyer! I don’t know how large you are, but morbid obesity (twice the recommended body weight) is considered a disability by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which settled such a case in July, 2012, and by a number of states.
Even if you are not obese, the law may well protect you. Michigan expressly forbids discrimination based on height and weight, for instance. Further, under the 2009 amendments to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers violate the law if they discriminate against an employee because of an actual or perceived impairment, whether the employee has an actual disability or not.
If you do not know a local employment lawyer, you can contact your local or state bar association, or try the National Employment Lawyers Association for a referral. Good luck.
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