Whittaker v America’s Car-Mart Inc. (2014) H&FLR 2014-7
United States District Court (E.D. Missouri)
24 April 2014
Coram: Limbaugh DJ
Appearing for the Plaintiff: Mr Mark Welker of Jackson & Welker)
Appearing for the Defendant: Not identified.
Catchwords: Missouri – termination of employment – obesity – Americans with Disabilities Act – disability – discrimination
Facts: The plaintiff commenced employment with the defendant in August 2005. He was dismissed from the position of General Manager on 1 November 2012. He alleged that he was dismissed by reason of his severe obesity which he asserted was a disability within the meaning of the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 (Act). He did not require any special provision to be made by his employer in order to discharge his duties.
The defendant applied to dismiss the discrimination proceeding on the basis that severe obesity is not a disability under the Act unless it relate to an underlying physiological condition.
Held, dismissing the application,
(1) The Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act 2008 (Amending Act) requires “disability” to be construed in favour of broad coverage of claimants.
Toyota Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc v Williams, 534 US 184 (2002), disapproved.
(2) Because of the expanded coverage effected by the Amending Act, it was open to argue that obesity can be a disability.
Lowe v American Eurocopter LLC, No. 1: 10CV24-AD (N.D. Miss. Dec. 16, 2010), followed.
The Court’s judgment is available here.