Obesity Is a New Protected Class in Washington State

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The Washington Supreme Court held for the first time that obesity is a protected class under state anti-discrimination law (The applicant v. Burlington Northern Railroad Holdings, Inc.). This decision runs counter to recent federal court decisions in other parts of the country that have said obesity not caused by an underlying physiological disorder or condition does not qualify as an impairment under federal law.

The main reason for this distinction is that Washington state disability discrimination law offers broader coverage than the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

While Washington employers may have grown accustomed to expansive disability discrimination protections, the decision goes further than ever before and may require…



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Credit to Margaret Burnham © Fisher Phillips for the original post.

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