Obesity can constitute a disability in certain circumstances, the EU’s highest court has ruled.
The European Court of Justice was asked to consider the case of a male childminder in Denmark who says he was sacked for being too fat.
The court said that if obesity could hinder “full and effective participation” at work then it could count as a disability.
The ruling is binding across the EU.
Judges said that obesity in itself was not a disability – but if a person had a long-term impairment because of their obesity, then they would be protected by disability legislation.
The case centres around childminder Karsten Kaltoft who weighs about 160kg (25 stone).
He brought a discrimination case against his employers of 15 years, Billund local authority, after he was sacked four years ago.
The authority said a fall in the number of children meant Mr Kaltoft was no longer required.
But Mr Kaltoft said he was dismissed because he was overweight.
Earlier this year, he told the BBC that reports that he was so fat he was unable to bend down to tie children’s shoelaces were untrue.
Describing his work with children, he said: “I can sit on the floor and play with them, I have no problems like that.
“I don’t see myself as disabled. It’s not OK just to fire a person because they’re fat, if they’re doing their job properly.”
The Danish courts asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify whether obesity was a disability.