As the obesity rate among Americans continues to climb, many wonder whether severe obesity can be considered a disability.

Under federal employment law, being obese does not constitute having a disability. But a person’s weight was a factor in a Montana decision that considered whether obesity should be considered in a discrimination claim.

A man named Eric Feit applied for a job with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company but was turned down because of “significant health and safety risks associated with extreme obesity.”

Feit filed a complaint with the Montana Department of Labor on the grounds of discrimination due to a disability. The Department of Labor sided with Feit, and the state Human Rights Commission upheld the decision. The state then went to U.S. District Court where a judge asked the state Supreme Court to determine whether severe obesity is a “physical or mental disability” under Montana law.

The state Supreme Court concluded:

[We answer the certified question as follows: Obesity that is not the symptom of a physiological disorder or condition may constitute a “physical or mental impairment” within the meaning of Montana Code Annotated § 49-2-101(19)(a) if the individual’s weight is outside “normal range” and affects “one or more body systems” as defined in 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(h)(1) (2011).

Contact a Lawyer Who Understands Disability Law

A lawyer who is familiar with Social Security Disability can help you determine whether you qualify and work with you through the process of applying for benefits.

The Disparti Law Group, P.A., has years of experience handling Social Security Disability cases in Florida. The disabilities benefits lawyers of the Disparti Law Group, P.A., are experienced and knowledgeable about all areas of Social Security Disability.

For a free consultation, don’t hesitate to call the Disparti Law Group, P.A., at 866-806-2193 or contact us through our online form. Let us fight for the benefits you need.