Skip to comments.Suit claims obesity firing (680 lb Man - Fired)
Posted on 09/29/2011 7:34:02 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd
HOUSTON Ronald Kratz II, who weighed as much as 680 pounds while he was working at BAE Systems in Sealy, says his obesity never kept him from doing his job or receiving high performance ratings during his 16-year career.
But one day two years ago, when he reported for an overtime shift on his materials handling job, Kratz was told that he was too heavy to continue performing the work.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle on Wednesday, Kratz said he was called into the human resources office and told he was being terminated because company officials thought he weighed too much.
It was a total surprise, said Kratz, who had received high marks on his two most recent job evaluations. He said company officials declined his offer to take a demotion to keep his job.
I wanted to cry, recalled Kratz, who was earning $21 an hour and supports a wife and three teenagers. He filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which investigated his claims.
On Tuesday, the agency alleged in a federal lawsuit that BAE Systems violated federal disability laws by firing its morbidly obese employee.
BAE said in a written statement that it is reviewing the allegations and will respond at the appropriate time and manner.
Kratz, 42, still hasn't found another job, despite submitting numerous applications, and his unemployment benefits have run out.
It has really been hard on the family, he said.
Kratz said he weighed 450 pounds when BAE hired him, gained more than 200 pounds while working there and now is down to less than 300 pounds, thanks to surgery and a diet and exercise program.
John Griffin Jr., an employment lawyer who represents employees in disability cases, called Kratz's situation a classic disability discrimination case.
In its Houston federal court lawsuit, the EEOC alleges that Virginia-based BAE, which manufactures military vehicles, fired Kratz for his disability as well as its perception that he was disabled.
It appears the company took the impairment it saw Kratz's obesity as the reason for termination, said Griffin, managing partner at Marek, Griffin & Knaupp in Victoria.
Kratz said his weight didn't interfere with his job, which included mostly desk work with some sorting and moving of inventory.
BAE contended Kratz had difficulty walking from the parking lot to the plant, from which it concluded he had trouble walking around the facility, said Kathy Boutchee, the EEOC lawyer in charge of the case.
Ronald Kratz II holds a copy of his lawsuit after being fired from his job because his employer, BAE Systems, said he was morbidly obese with a weight of 600 pounds. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has sued on his behalf under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Photo: Michael Paulsen / Houston Chronicle
will governor chris christie get fired too?
1. How many chairs did this man break with his extreme weight?
2. What damage occurred to his desk when he leaned on it throughout his shift?
3. How unpleasant was the office environment considering a 680 lb man cannot adequately perform personal hygiene tasks?
There’s go to be more than meets the eye here! I’m a 300 lb man, and this guy looks smaller than me. Granted, he might be a front-to-back storer of fat, but the fact that he’s even standing makes me curious how much weight he dropped for that picture.
A 700 lb. human being is not going to be walking around that much.
He should consider working as a horse jockey...or maybe a personal trainer. The possibilities are endless.
According to the article he had surgery. Probably the newest form of a gastric bypass.
Disclaimer: I have a gastric bypass, performed in 1992. Best thing I ever did.
Weight is a problem as you age, but remember those pounds weren’t put on overnight. Bones, muscles and tissue all compensate for the added pounds but only up to a certain point. Then knees complain, vertebrae start to groan and your breathing at night becomes a problem. The article doesn’t say if he had the surgery during his employment or after.
If he was doing the job, the firing was wrong. Good performance reviews indicate he was, and unless he was complaining to his employer for “reasonable accommodation” it sounds like he wasn’t troubled by it.
I’m just wondering how much Obamacare plays into BAE’s decision?
Not that we would ever hear anything about it from the Lamestream Press.
At a rest area on Interstate 5 there were a dozen unused handicapped spots forcing us to park about a block away to use the rest rooms the other night. Our guest who needed to make the stop was a 90 year old woman who was a WAC in WWII. I once got an earful when I suggested to her that she might consider getting a handicapped hangar for her car. You would have thought that I had called her a retard. The space being used was occupied by two fat people who looked like they were in their thirties. Bad acne was the worst ailment either of them had.
The other day at Costco a (heavy) man came in and got on a courtesy scooter. It wouldn’t work, in fact, he couldn’t get any of them to work.
I saw that man walk around the entire store for at least 20 minutes. He could walk fine. Of course he might have had a heart condition or asthma or something but the only thing that showed was his weight.
They probably fired him because they were worried about having to cover looming health problems. It would be nice, though, if they’d hire him back now that he’s got his weight down to a semi-reasonable level. I mean, since he knows the job and does it well.
He was 450lbs at age 24 when hired. He gained 230lbs over the course of 16 years and weighed 680lbs when he was fired 2 years ago.
He apparently received unemployment benefits for 2 years and during that time has had gastric by-pass surgery - losing 380lbs. Probably paid for with COBRA health insurance. No mention of whether his wife works.
Now that his unemployment benefits have expired he is filing the lawsuit.
It’s a shame that his employer did not counsel him to lose weight for his health and performance - but I suspect if they had - he would have refused and/or filed a lawsuit.
Yes you gain weight as you age. I have gained about 15 pounds since I was 18 and now 42. From about 155 to 170. I should get rid of the 15 for sure and actually working on it for the last 10 years.....lol. However, this dude is disgusting. He looks disheveled in his picture with the lawsuit. His best bet would be to wear a suit. If I was on the jury, I would want to know why it took getting fired for him to do something about his weight. Unless there is more to this story that we don’t know, then I hope he does not win the case. We can’t have every fatty start suing or we will go broke. There are people who just won’t get up from the table. I would have loved to observe his lunches at the job. I bet that would have been eye opening.
obesity should not be considered a disability.
He’d be a perfect candidate for a Gubmint job.
They’re not expected to move around much or actually do any work..
If the voters say so next time around.
This was a topic on KLBJ yesterday. He was a materials handler and required him to be a forklift operator. I’ve never seen a forklift that could accomodate a 680 lb person.
I’ve wavered greatly from my highest in college at almost 400 lb. down to 235 lb. at one point recently. Since I’ve been dating and engaged to my fiancee for a few years now, I’ve let myself go, but I’ll never let myself get back to where I was in college.
I’m 6’2”, so most people don’t see me as fat, more just BIG. When I was thin though, people really took notice. Our CIO even said something to some of his partners about my weight loss when he was on a tour of our data center. It was a great conversation piece in job interviews. The other side of that coin is true as well.
Fat people are viewed as lazy. I can think of at least 2 very obese women in our office who embody that, but that generality can affect those of us who are legitimately hard workers willing to do anything. Obesity is a big problem, as I see it, and I’m affected by it. No government program is going to make me thinner. I have to want to be thin and to maintain that. It takes a true lifestyle change to make it happen permanently.
Maintaining weight is VERY hard! I have a thyroid disorder that complicates things due to a slow metabolism, but I’ve dropped the weight safely and without surgery or medication. It takes a truly dedicated person to stick with it though.
Our society is bombarded by junk on every corner. Long gone are the days of random, homemade fare at a local diner or farmer’s market. We deal with so much bustle in our everyday lives that pre-made, manufactured foods like McDonalds or even the likes of Marie Callendar in your grocer’s freezer. Those foods are so tempting from a convenience standpoint in a world where we try to cut corners and make the most out of every moment of our days.
We need to slow down, get away from the TVs and computers, and get back to our country’s roots. We were healthy people once.
It really is difficult. I’m 5’4” and until my late 20s was pretty thin (usually between 110 and 120). But my metabolism slowed down and my habits didn’t. I never felt like I ate that much, but I gradually rose to 155, which is a lot if you’re short. I battled back down to 127 but every time I just relax and eat “like a normal person” (you know, three meals a day) my weight climbs back up into the 140s and 150s. I pretty much have to either starve, live on protein only, or work out like I’m preparing for a triathlon to get or stay under 130.
I still believe that we are all born with “set points” where our weight is most stable. Some of us have higher set points, and others are very low.
My cholesterol is low, my BP is low, no diabetes, and I eat well. I may be big, but I’m healthier than some men half my size.
Weight isn’t really a good measure. How do those pants feel? If they’re too tight, that’s a good indication that you’re slipping. Wish I’d paid more attention to mine.
I think you’re right. Sadly, that “set point” rises as we age. Now I’m in my mid 40s, my body seems absolutely determined to be 150 or so. And I’m absolutely determined that it will be 130. We are fighting it out and it is not pretty. It’s like having a conjoined twin with a mental illness.
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