The case: Joseph Connor, who weighs more than 400 pounds, applied for a job as cook at a Connecticut McDonald’s. Restaurant verbally offered him a job. But because Connor needed a custom-size uniform, management told him to call back in a few days. He did and was told the uniform wasn’t ready.
After several months of waiting for his uniform, during which the restaurant hired other cooks, Connor filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging that McDonald’s had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to hire him because of his weight.
McDonald’s argued that the applicant’s obesity did not deserve protection as a disability under ADA, but the court disagreed and ordered the trial to go forward. The court’s reasoning: McDonald’s perceived Connor as being morbidly obese, which could qualify as a disability under the ADA. Crucial point: ADA protects disabled people from discrimination based on disability or perceived disability. (Connor v. McDonald’s, Conn. Sup. Ct., 2003)
What’s next: We’ll keep you posted on this. But your best bet is to consider every applicant without regard to size, unless it somehow limits the applicant’s ability to complete the work.