Is obesity a disability? Sonya Goodwin’s article in Hunton on Ninth Circuit decision

Ninth Circuit Skirts Issue of Whether Obesity is a Qualifying Disability Under the ADA

By Sonya Goodwin & Emily Burkhardt Vicente on September 5, 2019

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a District Court’s ruling in favor of employer Medtronic, Inc. in a lawsuit alleging Medtronic unlawfully terminated employee Jose Valtierra’s employment because he was morbidly obese, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  In doing so, the Court declined to decide whether morbid obesity is a disability, leaving this issue unsettled in the Ninth Circuit.

Valtierra alleged that Medtronic terminated his employment because he was morbidly obese.  In its Motion for Summary Judgment, Medtronic argued Valtierra’s employment was terminated for falsifying records to show he completed assignments when in fact he had not. It was undisputed that Valtierra admitted to Medtronic that he did not complete the assignments even though he entered that they were complete in the computer system.

Read the rest at Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives