Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Washington Supreme Court Review: Court Holds Obesity Is an ‘Impairment’ under WLAD

September 2019 Bar Bulletin

Chief Justice Fairhurst Writes for the Court

Taylor v. Burlington Northern Railroad Holdings, Inc.No. 96335-5 (7-2)

On Certification from theUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

July 11, 2019

The Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) generally prohibits employers from discriminating against an employee because the employee has a disability. RCW 49.60.180. An employee has a disability if they have an “impairment” that “[i]s perceived to exist whether or not it exists in fact.” RCW 49.60.040(7)(a). The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit certified the following question to this court: “Under what circumstances, if any, does obesity qualify as...

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