Title

A House Divided: The Incompatible Positions of the Centers for Disease Control and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Obesity as a Disability

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Publication Source

Southern Law Journal

Volume

22

Issue

2

Inclusive pages

305-338

ISBN/ISSN

1056-2184

Peer Reviewed

yes

Abstract

The question whether obesity was a covered disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was inconsistently answered by the federal courts. But the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) revised the federal government's position on obesity as a disability, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has, as a result, taken a more assertive role in this area of disability discrimination. The difficulty with the EEOC's position is that is disregards the reality that obesity presents in the workplace, one of ever-burgeoning and unsustainable costs. It is also a stance that is antipathetic to the evermore urgent attempts taken by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to alter the direction of the obesity trend line. This article will examine the obesity epidemic, including its causes and costs in the workplace, and explore the dichotomy between the CDC and the EEOC as is relates to obesity in America. Furthermore, this article will recommend that the EEOC be a noninterventionist where obesity is a claimed disability, unless an employee's disability is the direct result of a naturally occurring medical condition.

Disciplines

Accounting | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics

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