In a recent article posted via TUjobs, the treatment of overweight workers in the oil industry is discussed, in light of the UK oil and gas industry taking steps in order to be more accommodating towards overweight employees.
The article states that it is under current consideration whether being substantially overweight is a “protected characteristic” under the EU, according to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Kirk Tudhope, employment lawyer and partner of Ledingham Chalmers mentions, “Any changes to the law in relation to overweight employees are increasingly important. Not least because a greater percentage of the population is classed as being overweight. Of particular interest and consideration for the oil and gas industry is the increasing weight and size of offshore workers.”
It could be the case that employees who are clinically obese would be protected against adverse treatment, in the same way that gender, race and religion are protected.
“The ECJ is also considering whether a clinically obese person may be covered by the protection given to disabled employees,” says Tudhope.
The argument is whether obesity has substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities; in the same way physical or mental impairment can effect workers.
“The concept of disability extends beyond just people who have a clear disability, such as wheelchair users,” states Tudhope.
Tudhope encourages employers to avoid falling into the trap of querying why they should be subject to additional obligations to accommodate some whose lifestyle choices are the reason they are disabled.
To keep up with the latest news from the oil and gas industry, visit http://www.tujobs.com.