Rejecting an obese plaintiff’s claim that her employer “regarded” her weight as a physical impairment, a federal district court said that her obesity is no more an impairment that any other physical characteristic, such as, for example, an individual’s neon green mohawk. Powell v. Gentiva Health Services, Inc. (S.D. AL, February 12, 2014). The court held that both being overweight and having neon green mohawk may be viewed as “undesirable” physical characteristics but are not impairments under the ADA. The court granted summary judgment to the employer on the plaintiff’s ADA claims.
The plaintiff solicited new accounts and promoted hospice referrals for her employer, a provider of hospice services. She was 5′ 3″ and weighed approximately 230 pounds. She said that her being overweight was not due to any underlying medical condition, did not contribute to any other medical condition, and did not interfere with her ability to perform her job or care for herself.