Legal Question in Disability Law in Illinois

I took my 6 yr old daughter to a waterpark for a celebration. There was a lifeguard who yelled and blew his whistle at her point het out and again yelling hey you are too big you can't go down the slide. So I asked him politely "how old do you have to be? He said 8, I told him she is only 6 so she alright, he proceeded to say No she is too fat she will knock the other kids down. His supervisor asked what was going on.....the lifeguard said again look ay her she is overweight so I said she can't get on the slide. My child was so hurt and asked me over and over why did the man have to call her fat in front of all the people.

Asked on 7/16/13, 6:26 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

If she is fat she is fat. That is simply her physical condition. And in this case the reason why she was not allowed on the slide. From what you posted, it appears that the lifeguard first simply said your daughter was "too big" and you apparently mistook "big" to mean age, not weight. The lifeguard apparently had to be more explicit with you about what "big" meant -- apparently weight. So it appears that in fact the lifeguard was attempting to be less hurtful and your clarification is what brought out a more "explicit" meaning. I'm not sure if "fat" or "overweight" is more or less "hurtful". Otherwise, weight (obesity or otherwise) is not per se considered a disability for purposes of most discrimination laws including the ADA.

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Answered on 7/16/13, 2:18 pm

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