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17/04/03 . n/a . AP . USA
Fat Man Sues McDonald's Over Non-Hire
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit against McDonald's, filed by a New Haven man who claims he was not hired because he is overweight.
Joseph Connor had filed the lawsuit last year against the fast food chain, claiming that it discriminated against him, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act.
Connor, who weighs 420 pounds, claims that McDonald's violated the laws when it regarded him as morbidly obese and refused to hire him based on that perception.
Further, he alleges that his obesity is a disability, and the restaurant chain violated the CFEPA by deliberately not hiring him.
U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill concluded that Connor must be given the opportunity to prove that he is protected under the law.
McDonald's had argued that obesity, except in special cases where the obesity is due to a physiological disorder, is not a "physical impairment" within the meaning of the ADA.
"The judge' decision is a very important one," Attorney Gary Phelan, who is representing Connor, said Wednesday. "This is the first time a Connecticut court is saying that obesity may be a disability under state discrimination law."
Attorney Lawrence Peikes, who is representing McDonald's Corp., said the judges decision was not on the merits of the case.
"It in no way indicates how the judge views the case factually," Peikes said. "McDonald's is confident there is no merit to the claims and looks forward to having the matter resolved."