On December 18, 2014, the European Court of Justice decided that while obesity, in itself, is not necessarily a disability, where obesity hinders a person’s ability to engage in “full and effective participation” in the workplace, it could warrant the protection of disability legislation. So what is the status of obesity as a disability in Canada?
Is it an invasion of privacy for employers to get involved in the process of helping employees lose extra weight so they can be healthier? Should it be mandatory for employers from a health and safety perspective to require some type of fitness and nutrition management program in the workplace? Could an increase in education regarding fitness and nutrition lead to improved employee health and consequently improved productivity in the workplace? Could the pressure to lose weight affect employees’ self-esteem in a negative way? Is it unfair for employers to put pressure on employees to lose weight? Is it discriminatory under human rights legislation to require someone to increase their general health?
Established in 1995, First Reference Inc. (known as La Référence in Quebec) provides Canadian organizations of any size with practical and authoritative resources to help ensure compliance.