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Taylor v. Burlington Northern Railroad Holdings   (Washington State Supreme Court)

Whether obesity is an impairment

The NAM filed an amicus brief in the Washington State Supreme Court arguing that obesity is not a legally protected disability unless the obesity is the result of a physiological disorder. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sent a certified question to the Washington State Supreme Court asking whether obesity is an impairment under Washington law to resolve allegations by a plaintiff that his denial of employment because he was obese constituted discrimination. An adverse ruling on this question could affect employee relations and a wide variety of business interactions negatively and could impose significant costs and uncertainty on Washington businesses. The NAM’s brief argues that defining obesity as a “per se” disability would encompass 40 percent or more of the adult population, would be at odds with legislative intent and would place significant burdens on employers.

Related Documents:
NAM brief  (January 14, 2019)


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