Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 325–337

Logit Model to Predict Outcomes of Litigated Employee Obesity Cases


DOI: 10.1007/s10869-010-9191-4

Cite this article as:
LaVan, H. & Katz, M. J Bus Psychol (2011) 26: 325. doi:10.1007/s10869-010-9191-4



Given that there are no specific legal protections for obese employees, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the litigated case characteristics and case outcomes when an employee is subjected to negative consequences in the workplace and subsequently sues the employer.


The study is an analysis of a random sample of 276 litigated cases based on adverse employment decisions of individuals who were obese. These cases were retrieved using Lexis/Nexis over the past 10 years. Eighty cases were included in the empirical analysis. This analysis considered demographic characteristics, organizational and cases characteristics, legal bases, and confounding physical factors. Multivariate logistic regression was performed in order to investigate the effect of the independent variables.


The employee prevailed in almost 40% of the cases. The case characteristics associated with the employer prevailing included the employee being a professional, being in the public sector and filing lawsuits under discrimination, health and disability laws.


Some of the findings are contrary to popular perception. Obese employees have legal protections under various discrimination laws, even though there does not seem to be explicit protections under the law. Thus, organizations must be more vigilant in sanctioning obesity. However, this sanctioning is neither a disability nor a gender issue.


This is the first study using qualitative content analysis of litigated cases and logistic regression to analyze litigated cases in which obese employees were disciplined.


ObesityAmericans with Disabilities ActLogistic regressionQualitative analysisDiscipline

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.DePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Governors State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA