Legal Question in Disability Law in Maryland

Obesity and the workplace

My friend drives a shuttle bus for a private university. In the past four years he gained over 335 pounds; he is 6'1". He has trouble getting on and off the bus due to his weight gain. He was consistently late three times and the university fired him. He had come to me asking for advice on whether he had a valid complaint of handicap discrimination. Does he? and if so, how could he prove that the univeristy recieves federal funds? Are there any supreme court cases dealing with this particluar issue?

Asked on 11/02/97, 1:14 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Harold M. Weiner Coles & Weiner, P.C.

obesity in workplace

No one has a case of handicap discrimination unless they can do the job with their handicap, and with reasonable accomodation. If in fact the school bus company could widen the drivers seat, or make physical changes to the bus, they MIGHT have a duty to do so; but there is no duty to accomodate his latenesses.

This area of law is too new to have much Supreme Court doctrine on it. It is NOT being answered in accordance with your state law. The State law may accord your friend more, less or the same benefits as the Americans With Disabilities Act....the ADA does not pre empt state law.

The above preliminary discussion is not intended as legal advice. You are notified that we only give such advice in areas of law that we are fully qualified in by virtue of training and experience; that we are licensed ONLY in New York and Maine, and the Federal court system.. There is no substitute for sitting down face to face with an attorney, to protect your rights under law, and to determine your obligations. We are your attorneys only if you have entered into a written retainer agreement with the firm of Coles & Weiner, P.C. We reserve the right to reject any potential client for any reason.

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Answered on 11/04/97, 2:23 pm

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