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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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Obesity causing an issue with an employee

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We have an employee who has worked for us for more than twenty years as a bench assembly technician and has done a good job. He has a good attendance record. However, his weight (now some 30 stone) is causing a problem to him medically and to his job due to his physical inability to move well. He has asthma, back, knee and feet problems and is prone to depression. He is currently off sick with his knee. He has always been a larger man but in the last four months alone, his weight has increased by more than 3 stone. He is breathless most of the time and his rapid weight increase has affected his mobility. He cannot reach down to pick something up if he has dropped it nor can he bend down. We want to retain this man in his job and have ordered him a heavy duty high backed chair to try to alleviate some of the problems he is experiencing but we are a small company, we cannot afford to be one member of staff down due to long term sickness etc and we would therefore like some advice as to what we can do. Are we within our rights to speak to his man about this increasing weight and medical problems due to it? Where do we stand with obesity in the law, is it considered a disability and if so, what steps do we need to take to ensure we comply with assisting this man to continue his job? Any advice would be of use.


Thank you for your question.

Unfortunately, obesity is becoming an increasing and common problem at work and you are well within your rights to be concerned about the health and welfare of your employee and speak to him about his weight and medical issues and see what assistance he requires to control and manage the problem.

It is very likely that his condition is considered a disability which is a physical or medical impairment which has a substantial and long term negative effect on their ability to do every day tasks.

You are required to carry out reasonable adjustments in the work place to support the employee as you have done in getting him the heavy duty chair.

See here for guidance:

and here:

Hope this helps

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