Monday, July 9, 2012
The Montana Supreme Court has answered a certified question whether obesity is not a physiological condition but rather a physical or mental impairment, with a "qualified yes."
The claimant in the case had filed an administrative complaint with the Montana Department of Labor and Industry against Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railway ("BNSF") alleging discrimination in failing to hire him. The claimant had prevailed before a hearing officer. BNSF appealed to the Montana Human Rights Commission and lost.
The question was certified by the United States District Court on BNSF's petition for review on the issue whether the company's failure to hire the claimant violated the state Human Rights Act.
There are dissents. (Mike Frisch)