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Lawsuit Filed Over Obese Worker’s Firing

September 29, 2011 by  

HOUSTON, Sept. 28 (UPI) — A U.S. worker fired because of his obesity was terminated illegally, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says in court papers.

BAE Systems, which manufactures vehicles for the military, fired material handler Ronald Kratz II in October 2009 after noting that he was having trouble walking from the parking lot to the plant, the Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday.

At the time, he weighed 600 pounds, the newspaper said.

Kratz had been working at the plant for 15 years before he was fired. In 2008 and 2009, his work performance was rated as “very good” in annual evaluations, court papers said.

The lawsuit also says Kratz was not offered “reasonable accommodation,” which is a broad term that relates to the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding reasonable changes in a job to allow a worker to maintain a position.

BAE said it would comment on the case “at the appropriate time and manner.”

EEOC attorney Kathy Boutchee said the company noted that Kratz was having trouble bending and stooping, but his job did not require he do those activities, as he sorted parts at a raised platform.

Nevertheless, he was told that, “the company had reached the conclusion that he could no longer perform his job duties because of his weight and he was therefore terminated,” the lawsuit said.

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