From time to time, discrimination and mistreatment based on disability and associated phenomena are witnessed at the workplace. Even in hiring staff, some employers do so selectively, considering factors such as one’s weight and general appearance. In some instances, people who are denied opportunities to work move to seek legal redress because of the feeling that they have been denied the chance to rightfully hold jobs and placements that they deserve. As such, they feel they are qualified for such positions. The case of Bob Goodman against L.A Weight Loss Center is examined.
The 350 pound man was interviewed to work for the said center as a sales counsellor. In spite of the fact that the interviewer thought and said he was qualified, the regional manager could not allow a decision to hire him since he thought he was too overweight, something not good for the company image. He was told to lose more weight before reapplying for employment.
Before the court can decide on such a case, several factors have to be put into consideration. The plaintiff’s allegation is that the Defendant denied him employment on grounds that he was disabled. The court must scrutinize all the facts as contained in the complaint and the attached documents. It must consider all well-pleaded allegations that have to be viewed in the most favorable manner to the plaintiff. Still, it must draw that the allegations are realistic in nature. Throughout his response, the plaintiff argued that morbid obesity is indeed a disability that greatly limits many major activities in life. However, it must be noted that the plaintiff’s claim is that his weight was considered a disability as per ADA and HRA meaning. It is, therefore, important that the court shall not move to determine whether obesity qualifies as a disability under those statutes.
The court infers that the life activity limited by obesity in this context is working. Drawn from Kelly v. Drexel Univ. (3d Cir. 1996), the perceptions and reactions of the plaintiff’s colleagues or prospective workmates are focused upon, as opposed to the actual disability (Marriot, & Practicing Law Institute, 2011). Considering the fact that the Defendant considered the plaintiff to be most suitable for the job, there is no allegation or impression that the center’s agents considered him to be incapable of performing his job. The case of Walton v. Mental Health Ass’s of southeastern Pa. is considered. (3d Cir. 1999) (Pennsylvania Bar Institute, 1999). In light of this, the plaintiff has not alleged that indeed the defendant considered him incapable of performing or handling a wide range of jobs and tasks. The Defendant simply turned down the job application for a reason not sufficient under ADA, to be defined as the perception of disability and inability to perform.
The court agrees it is universally established that an employer has the right to make hiring decisions based on given physical qualities (Hanson, & McIvor, 2013). The Defendant, being aware of the plaintiff’s weight decided to reject his application since he feared that was not good for the company image. The court holds that such a decision was not improper and, therefore, dismisses the plaintiff’s application. This is because the plaintiff has neither alleged to suffer any disability or handicap that is non-job related, nor proved that the prospective employer indeed perceived him to suffer such a disability.
The court should dismiss the plaintiff’s application. From this case, it suffices to conclude that considering some factors like weight and other physical characteristics when hiring may have legal implications. Nevertheless, employers have the right to make hiring decisions, depending on what they think is best for their firms.
Hanson, M., & McIvor, B. (2013). The Interviewer’s Book: Hiring the Right Person. Dublin: Orpen Press.
Marriott, D. R., & Practising Law Institute. (2011). M&A litigation 2011. New York, NY: Practising Law Institute.
Pennsylvania Bar Institute. (1999). Trial of an ADA case. Mechanicsburg, Pa: Pennsylvania Bar Institute.