Law

Law 1—Week 6 Assignment

Case Study

In response to increasing medical knowledge about the genetic source of obesity, Congress enacts and

the president signs the “Obesity Rights Act” (ORA). The statute reads as follows:

Section 1: Findings

The Congress hereby finds that the obese are subject to unreasonable and unfair discrimination in

employment, given prejudice against and misunderstanding of the condition of obesity. The Congress

also recognizes that a desire to earn a profit may require a business to consider the physical attributes of

certain members of its work force, and that this is a legitimate consideration.

The Congress also finds that obesity is not a legitimate tool for determining the capability of any person

to contribute to an efficient workplace.

Section 2: Discrimination

It is a violation of federal law for any employer to discriminate unreasonably against any person based

on the person’s weight, except where weight is a bona fide occupational requirement and where all

reasonable attempts to accommodate the person have been made.

Section 3: Definitions

“Employer” means any person, partnership, corporation or other business entity, state, or subunit of

state government that employs any person.

Section 4: Relief

Any person may sue to enforce the provisions of this act in any federal court where venue is proper. A

court may order damages, back pay, or other relief, as appropriate.

Section 5: Regulations

(a) The U.S. Department of Labor is authorized to promulgate regulations to enforce these provisions.

Violations of any valid regulation shall be considered violation of federal law.

 

You may assume the following:

1. During its consideration of the ORA, Congress heard evidence that, as a psychological matter, people

make assumptions about people’s self-control and discipline based in part on whether they are obese.

Congress was also told that, in a public opinion poll, 67 percent of Americans said they would be

uncomfortable working with an obese person.

2. Three individuals testified to Congress that they were fired from jobs – one from a job with the New

York state government, one with a large corporation, and one with a small business – based solely on

their obesity, despite achieving good performance reviews.

 

 

3. The CPOD was formed “to fight, in the legislatures, the courts, and in public opinion, all forms of

discrimination and stereotypes about, and oppression of, obese persons.”

 

1. Adams v. Baker

Albert Adams, a junior auditor for the State of Baker, is fired for being obese. He sues the state and the

state’s head auditor under the law, requesting back pay, damages, and an injunction against the head

state auditor forbidding him from firing or demoting Adams.

What constitutional provisions would allow Congress to impose ORA on the State of Baker?

 

 

 

2. Confederation for the Prevention of Obesity Discrimination (CPOD) v. Department of Labor

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor promulgates the following regulation:

Reg A: A “bona fide occupational requirement” is any requirement that, in the eyes of a reasonable

employer, is reasonably necessary to prevent a loss of business or profit, taking into account reasonable

customer preferences.

The Confederation believes that this regulation is far too lenient, and contravenes the intention of the

statute. On the day the regulation is promulgated, it sues the Department of Labor. Does it have

standing?

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