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
A Texas hospital will not hire obese employees.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – 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?"

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Apr 5, 2012 9:57 PM CDT
All of you people need to get your heads around the fact that every single thing is intended to discriminate against everyone it doesn't directly aide. Let's say, for example, you are a morbidly obese heart patient, and you are being counseled on how to decrease your risk for future cardiac pathologies. Would it be easier to take the advise from a nurse who is also morbidly obese (and, excluding disease of the thyroid, etc, obviously doesn't listen to this advise themselves), or a healthy individual who can be used as a positive role model? In a preventative mindset, please spare me the comments on how they could relate better, and also how the healthcare professional couldn't relate. Cancer patients, cardiac patients, etc. are all empathized by the same professionals who do not have any basis of empathy toward the individuals -- but it STILL happens. I feel as if this is a great move to inspire others to keep themselves healthy! It does seem simplistic to have a healthy as possible healthcare professional. And for Nimitz, it is the "don't throw the 'it's your own fault' unless you're a doctor" mentality that stops positive peer pressure from influencing individuals to make better life decisions.
Apr 5, 2012 5:36 AM CDT
They might have a problem in recruiting new employees....
Apr 5, 2012 2:26 AM CDT
This hospital would be a hazard to obese patients. Institutionalized discrimination leads to bullying.