Texas Hospital Won't Hire Obese

Is ban discrimination on the overweight?
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2012 12:17 PM CDT
Texas Hospital Won't Hire Obese
A Texas hospital will not hire obese employees.   (Shutterstock)

If your BMI is over 35, Citizens Medical Center in Texas won't hire you. The hospital policy, instituted last year but getting some attention thanks to a recent article in the Texas Tribune, requires that potential employees not be obese. (For reference, a 5'5" person would have to weigh less than 210 pounds.) Why? The hospital wants employee physiques to "fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional."

Experts say the policy is legal, since only one state (Michigan) and six US cities ban discrimination in hiring based on weight—but it's certainly unusual (though other hospitals do ban employees who smoke) and could potentially lead to a lawsuit that frames obesity as a disability. "On the one hand, it makes sense that your health care provider is, well, healthy," writes Suzanne Lucas for CBS News. But since the hospital is not also banning underweight employees, this is "a ridiculous policy." Further, "What do you do when your star employee gains weight?" (More obese stories.)

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