18 Aug 2014

Aberdein Considine Employment Lawyer Offshore Helicopter ‘Fatist’ Case is ‘big news’

Aberdein Considine Employment Lawyer Offshore Helicopter ‘Fatist’ Case is ‘big news’

Neil Fraser, an Employment Law Partner at the firm recently went public with a warning for the Offshore Industry that a landmark European Court of Justice case could mean that obese people will be officially classed as disabled and therefore capable of being discriminated against.

Neil Fraser, an Employment Law Partner at the firm recently went public with a warning for the Offshore Industry that a landmark European Court of Justice case could mean that obese people will be officially classed as disabled and therefore capable of being discriminated against.

The Case

The Advocate General - the EU's most senior legal advisor - has ruled that being overweight qualifies as a disability following the sacking of Karsten Kaltoft, a 25-stone child-minder from Denmark.

His opinion still requires the final backing of the European Court but, if ratified, will usher in binding changes which will protect clinically obese people from workplace discrimination in the same way as women and ethnic minorities.

The Implications for the Oil and Gas Industry

The implications for offshore workers and their employers are significant, especially against the backdrop of the Civil Aviaition Authority’s plans to prevent helicopter operators carrying passengers whose body means they couldn’t escape through push-out window exits in an emergency. 

The change, which is not due to take effect until 1 April 2015, is designed to ensure that everyone onboard can escape in the event of a helicopter capsizing after a ditching or water impact. 

Those carrying a few extra pounds could in theory be excluded from flying, until they lose weight, in order to ensure those operating offshore remain compliant. The European Court of Justice decision, if ratified, would potentially not allow this to happen.

The Story about the story…

Neil’s comments gained national media coverage with associated stories being run by the Press and Journal, The Herald and The Energy Voice

Read the stories or the original article to find out more.

Rob Aberdein, Partner


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