The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld the Worker’s Compensation Board’s prior ruling that an employer, a pizza retailer, must pay for the weight-loss surgery of an obese employee. All is not as it seems with this headline; however, as the ruling is based on the Court’s reliance on medical testimony related to the actual injury the employee suffered while in the course and scope of his employment, a back injury. The Indiana Court of Appeals noted the medical evidence was such that the weight loss surgery was an extension of additional medical care required to ensure the success of an operation for a back injury.
Adam Childers, a 340 lb. cook employed by Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza, of Schererville was originally injured by a freezer door. He treating surgeons testified that while he needed back surgery, the surgery would not be successful unless he first had weight-loss surgery. The employer, Boston’s, argued it shouldn’t have to pay because Childers’ weight was a pre-existing condition, but the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board and the Court said the company had to pay because his weight and the accident created a single and continuous injury.