Washington Supreme Court Recognizes Obesity as Impairment Under WLAD

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals certified a question to the Washington Supreme Court about whether obesity is an impairment under the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). The court ruled that obesity “always” qualifies as an impairment under WLAD. This ruling departs from decisions made in other circuit courts addressing such claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). One of those instances is found in a case we discussed this summer when the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found obesity is not an ADA impairment.The Washington state case demonstrates that states can grant greater rights than the federal government. Before taking an action against an employee or job applicant that could be perceived as relating to a condition of obesity, check your jurisdiction’s laws. Read more about the case here.