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Obesity Discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act

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Publication Date: February 2007

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS22609

Topic: Social conditions (Discrimination and affirmative action)


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides broad nondiscrimination protection for individuals with disabilities. However, to be covered under the statute, an individual must first meet the definition of an individual with a disability. Questions have been raised as to whether and to what extent obesity is a disability under the ADA and whether the ADA protects obese individuals from discrimination. This report provides background regarding how obesity is covered under the ADA and its supporting regulations. It also discusses some of the ways in which courts have applied the ADA to obesity discrimination claims.


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