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Hospital Bans Obese Employees: Should This Be Legal?

SS Member Image By drodriguez 04.13.12
Hospital Bans Obese Employees: Should This Be Legal?
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A few years ago we heard the story of a Pennsylvania college where students were being required to take fitness courses based on how high their body mass index (BMI) was. If they refused to take the course, they could not graduate. Now, it seems that a Texas hospital is taking it one step further by banning obese workers all together.

A recent FoxNews report discusses how the Citizens Medical Center in Victoria has instated a policy that requires its employees have a BMI of less than 35. For instance, if a person is 5 feet 5 inches tall, they can not weigh more than 210 pounds if they want to work at this hospital.

The policy states the reasoning for the refusal to hire obese people as stating that an employee’s appearance, “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a health care professional.” It goes on to say that the appearance should also be “free from distraction” for the patient. It would seem that what the policy is saying is that a health care professional serves as a sort of role model for what the picture of health should look like and obese people do not fit the bill.

Many might think that what this Texas hospital policy is doing is illegal because it discriminates against a group of people. But since Texas is not a state that bans weight discrimination (Michigan is the only state that has a ban on this), it would seem that the policy is perfectly within legal boundaries.

What do you think of this hospital’s ban on hiring obese workers?

Do you think this type of discrimination should be illegal?

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  • floflolinda By floflolinda

    I do think it should be illegal. A persons weight should not determine whether or not they are capable of doing their job. Anyone can look healthy on the outside but that does not mean they are better than an overweight person. I think if the hospital wants to encourage better health and exercise, then they can provide programs and support for their employees.

  • kellibliss By kellibliss

    I think that is totally wrong on so many levels. Someone's weight should not matter when applying for a job. If they are over weight it doesn't mean that they can't do their job well. I am not skinny myself and was doing housekeeping and I could keep up. So in that case it should not matter what someone weighs at all to work in a hospital or any place else. That is discrimination.

  • JessicaLD1 By JessicaLD1

    This should not be legal. Weight should not determine if they can work at any job.

  • felicia1960 By felicia1960

    If they can do their job I say no, but I do think it is not sending a proper message in a hospital. I had an obese sister and it pained me greatly to see her lok this way, it say a numbe of things about you I think such as you are depressed, you just don't really care about your health, I think that you don't have to be a size 8 to work somewhere, but if really obese how are you telling that peson with diabetes what they should do if you aren't doing it yourself. I don't ejoy seeing large people in my doctors office cause I wonder why isn't dctor helping her.

  • heavenly41 By heavenly41

    Nope, if they can perform the duties then no one should be excluded because of their weight. Rude and mean and against the law. Total stereotyping.

  • lnlygrl96 By lnlygrl96

    This should not be legal!!!!!! A person weight does not determine their knowledge and compassion!

  • crh3037 By crh3037

    A person's qualifications for a job should be the only thing that would effect if they are hired.

  • cocoabella By cocoabella

    Though I can see the hospitals point of view here in wanting to have their employees provide a healthy image to patients, this is sliding down a slippery slope in firing or not hiring obese employees. What would be next, not hiring a person based on eye, or hair color, gender or dominant hand ? How about the hospital providing these overweight employees one hour (on the clock) each work day in an in-house gym with a personal trainer and offer a dietician. If the hospital is that worried about image. The hospital should put the money where its mouth is and facilitate a healthier lifestyle from their employees.

  • mintmom By mintmom

    This should not be legal and is absolutely horrible. Should oncologist be fired if they get cancer or a heart surgeon be fired if they have a heart attack because they are not setting a good example? A recent study was published saying that BMI was not a good measurement for determining if a person was obese or not because it does not distinguish between amount of muscle or fat that makes up a person's composition.

  • aleanne78 By aleanne78

    Wrong in so many ways.. So tired of everyone trying to control everyone else's lives. Employer or not. Maybe the obese patients should stop going there and tell their families and so on, and let them file bankrupt. Make that bank balance look anorexic and I can guarantee they will be happy to have the obese people around..

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