Texas hospital prohibits hiring of obese people

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Overweight? Then don’t bother applying for a job at Citizens Medical Center, a Victoria, Texas hospital whose hiring policy prohibits the hiring of people who are obese.

The Texas Tribune reports that the hospital’s hiring policy was implemented a year ago, and does not permit the hiring of anyone with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35. BMI is a common way of measuring body fat; a person with a BMI of 30 or greater is considered obese.

According to Center for Disease Control statistics, 31 percent of adult Texans are obese.

The hospital’s policy says that an employee’s weight “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional.”

“We have numerous appearance policies and it just happens to be one of our personal appearance policies,” Shannon Spree, marketing Coordinator for the Hospital, told The Daily Caller. Other such policies, she said, include “no visible tattooing or piercings, other than earrings.”

“It’s a very conservative area,” she said.

Another reason for BMI limit is that the Citizens Medical Center is “a self-insured hospital.”

“There are some morbidities that come along with being obese, and we don’t want to bring the health care costs that come with those onto our other employees,” Spree said.

With that said, employees of the hospital who gain weight and become obese, surpassing that minimum BMI, will not be fired.

“They can remain,” Spree said. “We don’t fire people after they’re already hired for gaining weight.”

Such a hiring policy is not illegal in Texas – Michigan is the only state that prohibits discrimination based on weight, as well as several cities including Santa Cruz, Calif., San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. In Texas, refusing to hire someone because of his or her weight is not considered discrimination.

The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, however, feels otherwise.

“This is discrimination plain and simple,” NAAFA public relations director Peggy Howell told The Texas Tribune.

“So the field of medicine is no longer an option for people of larger body size? What a waste of talent,” she said.

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