Disability Law

EEOC Claims Obesity Is a Disability in Suit Filed for Fired Worker


The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed a suit on behalf of a woman who was fired, allegedly because of severe obesity.

The fired employee, Lisa Harrison, had counseled children of mothers undergoing addiction treatment with the New Orleans office of Resources for Human Development, according to the Associated Press and an EEOC press release. Harrison died before the suit was filed, but her estate will be represented in the lawsuit against the company, a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit group.

The suit claims Harrison was able to perform all the essential functions of her job, but her employer perceived her as being limited in major life activities, such as walking. The suit claims a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Keith Hill, the field director of the EEOC’s New Orleans office, said the suit is “a classic case of disability bias, based on myths and stereotypes.”

Prior coverage:

ABA Journal: “A Matter of Some Weight”

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