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Obesity: an ADA-Covered Impairment or Not? How to Practically Manage Your Legal Obligations - On-Demand

Obesity: an ADA-Covered Impairment or Not? How to Practically Manage Your Legal Obligations - On-Demand

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Obesity: an ADA-Covered Impairment or Not? How to Practically Manage Your Legal Obligations - On-Demand

WEBINAR SNAPSHOT: Learn how to evaluate when obesity generally entitles an employee or job applicant to a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and how to avoid weight bias and disability harassment claims.


 

Is weight bias unlawful under the ADA? Maybe, maybe not. But, at a minimum it could fuel a case of harassment, wrongful termination, or some other potentially costly employment claim if you aren’t careful. 

Recently, many lawsuits have arisen across the country alleging that adverse employment action on the basis of weight. For instance, the Washington Supreme Court just ruled that obesity is always an impairment under that state’s antidiscrimination law—whether it’s related to an underlying medical condition or not.

And, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting that nearly 40 percent of American adults are obese, now is the time to learn the circumstances under which obesity is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

While some courts have ruled that obesity alone is not a protected disability under the ADA, the Second, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have found that obesity may be protected under the ADA if it’s caused by an underlying disorder. And, the Fourth Circuit may soon answer the question, too. 

With more and more federal circuits chiming in on this issue, you can’t afford to wait to learn the risk of a legal misstep when it comes to recognizing when an obese applicant or employee may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation under the ADA.

Use this on-demand webinar when Attorneys Jonathan Mook, a national authority on the ADA, and Stacey Rose Harris, will explain how to evaluate when obesity generally entitles an employee or job applicant to a reasonable accommodation under the ADA and how to avoid weight bias and disability harassment claims.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Recognize the practical impact recent federal court rulings have on how to analyze whether obesity is a covered disability under the ADA
  • Respond if an employee or job applicant’s morbid obesity raises concerns about his or her ability to safely perform essential job functions
  • Ensure that job requirements are tailored to reflect each position’s specific needs
  • Evaluate the reasonable accommodation(s) an obese individual may be entitled to—and examples of unreasonable accommodations and those that could cause an undue hardship for the organization
  • Avoid “regarded as” disability discrimination claims related to weight by ensuring legally sound employment decisions—and by choosing your words carefully when communicating about those decisions
  • Train supervisors, managers, and the workforce in general to refrain from conduct that could breed disability harassment claims

About Your Presenters

Jonathan MookJonathan R. Mook, Esq.
Partner
DiMuro Ginsberg, PC

Jonathan R. Mook, a partner with DiMuro Ginsberg, is a nationally recognized authority on the Americans with Disabilities Act and the author of two treatises published by Matthew Bender Company, “Americans with Disabilities Act: Employee Rights and Employer Obligations” and “Americans with Disabilities Act: Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities.” Mr. Mook lectures nationally on the ADA and other employment law topics. He represents employers and businesses on matters relating to employment law, business torts, and business disputes.  He frequently counsels employers on issues involving compliance with the ADA and accommodating disabled employees, as well as other employment related matters.  He is a co-editor of the Virginia Employment Law Letter and a regular contributor to several legal publications, including Bender’s Labor & Employment Bulletin.

Stacey HarrisStacey Rose Harris, Esq. 
Partner 
DiMuro Ginsburg, PC Stacey Rose Harris
is a partner and a valued member of DiMuro Ginsberg’s litigation team, representing clients in complex commercial and civil litigation matters. From trade associations and manufacturers, to corporations and government contractors, she provides her signature comprehensive representation along with her incredible attention to detail. She also practices in the areas of criminal law and white collar defense. She is a frequent litigator in the federal courts for the Eastern District of Virginia and has a wealth of experience in handling civil cases on the “Rocket Docket.”

Over the past decade, Harris successfully negotiated awards in arbitration, obtained positive verdicts in jury trials and represented and defended our clients against formidable odds.

Harris is a member of the Bar Council, a great honor in that she was elected by her fellow Alexandria lawyers to serve on this prestigious governance arm of the Virginia State Bar. Her many duties include presiding over votes before they go to the Supreme Court of Virginia at each of the three semi-annual Virginia State Bar official meetings.

Harris is an avid athlete and a strong believer in giving back to the community. She makes good use of her ability to speak fluent Spanish and her legal skills in fulfilling her mission.