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The American Medical Association has officially termed obesity as a disease, defined as “a multi-metabolic and hormonal disease state.” This change in definition will affect dealerships in a variety of ways, including potentially increased insurance coverage, leave and other accommodations, and wellness plans.
At this point, the courts are debating whether or not the change in obesity definition will also rise to the level of declaring obesity as a disability. Currently, the courts have reached varying conclusions on disability claims based on obesity. If obesity is officially defined as a disability, these claims can affect your dealership. The end result will be that any person diagnosed as obese has a physical impairment and must be accommodated in the work place.
If disability is officially designed as a disability then there will more disabled employees in the workplace. After all, 37% of Americans are considered obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
At this point it is uncertain what the final result will be now that obesity is considered a disease. As it continues to evolve, it is important for dealers to stay informed and understand their responsibilities under their ADAA.
Concerned about disability at your dealership? Watch our Dealer Webinar to learn How to Manage the Beast: Work Injury, Leaves, Disability, COBRA