Fork Over the Cheese!

pizza-wonder-woman1So who’s the biggest loser now?

An Indiana court has ruled that Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza shop must pay for an obese employee’s gastric bypass surgery because it will help him recover from an on-the-job injury he received when he was hit on the back with a freezer door. (Ed note: uh, wha?)

Adam Childers, a 25-year-old, 340 pound cook , was, according to the AP story, “accidentally struck in the back by a freezer door. Doctors said he needed surgery to ease his severe pain, but that the operation would do him no good unless he first had surgery to reduce his weight, which rose to 380 pounds after the accident.”

Now the company had agreed to pay for Childers’s back surgery, but it balked at the idea of ponying up for the lap band procedure. In a nutshell I believe their argument was this: “We hired him as a fatty, so fat he shall stay!” (I imagine they probably also thought he was a good advertisement for a very satisfied pizza-eating customer base.)

But the court ruled in favor of the pizza guy, stating, “The surgery – and disability payments while Childers was unable to work – were covered because his weight and the accident had combined to create a single injury.” They also noted that Boston’s failed to provide any evidence that Childers’s excessive poundage had presented medical problems before the accident. In other words, “just because he was ‘morbidly’ obese and probably sweat a lot, it did not an unhealthy employee make.”

What’s interesting, though, is that the consultant quoted later in the piece, Tom Lynch, CEO of Lynch, Ryan & Associates Inc., gets his employment law WRONG when explaining why he thinks this ruling is bad because employers might start finding reasons not to hire obese people:

“Legally, you cannot refuse to hire this 350-pound person because they’re 350 pounds. That’s illegal. But you might find some other reason not to hire them,” he said.”

Guess what, guy? That’s not true. An employer can absolutely refuse to hire you because you’re too fat. Why? Because being fat isn’t considered a protected class (like race, ethnicity, etc.) Guess what else? This is something we discuss in the first chapter of the book, that’s the chapter entitled, “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Sell Your Soul to the Devil You Go!”

And we’re very glad to say we’re but 2 1/2 weeks away from our pub date, but you should feel free to pre-order your copy today!

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