Hospital Bans Obese Employees: Should This Be Legal?

   By drodriguez  Apr 13, 2012

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?

Make a Comment

frakmomma04 by frakmomma04 | JONESBORO, AR
Apr 16, 2012

That is wrong! How are you going to tell someone about their weight? I am so against this.

kal30314 by kal30314 | ATLANTA, GA
Apr 16, 2012

Maybe it not about the weight of a person, maybe hospital can't pay people that do their jobs and need an excuse to let good worker go.

GinaLola by GinaLola | ELK GROVE, CA
Apr 16, 2012

This is wrong on so many levels. It should not be legal, and a person getting a job should not depend on weight, color, ect. Stereotyping is awful.

AlaskaEll by AlaskaEll | Indianapolis, IN
Apr 14, 2012

If they want to do this fine, but they also need to also include in the policy those whose BMI is below 17.5 (that is the measure for those with anorexia). Can't discriminate against the overweight without taking into account the underweight.

jedigal by jedigal | ODESSA, TX
Apr 14, 2012

Wow I've never heard that. But we used to live in a small town (in TX) and I would take my daily walk to the hospital down the street. I was constantly seeing nurses out on their cigarette break. How is that any better?

aleanne78 by aleanne78 | DUCK RIVER, TN
Apr 14, 2012

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..

mintmom by mintmom | Louisville, KY
Apr 14, 2012

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.

cocoabella by cocoabella | EL PASO, TX
Apr 14, 2012

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.

crh3037 by crh3037 | WENTZVILLE, MO
Apr 14, 2012

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

lnlygrl96 by lnlygrl96 | HAYWARD, CA
Apr 13, 2012

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

heavenly41 by heavenly41 | PORTLAND, OR
Apr 13, 2012

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.

felicia1960 by felicia1960 | WELLINGTON, FL
Apr 13, 2012

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.

JessicaLD1 by JessicaLD1 | JACKSONVILLE, FL
Apr 13, 2012

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

kellibliss by kellibliss | NARRAGANSETT, RI
Apr 13, 2012

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.

floflolinda by floflolinda | GOSHEN, IN
Apr 13, 2012

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.