Citizens Medical Center, located in Victoria, Texas, has reportedly instituted a prohibition on hiring any employee with a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35, or 210 pounds for an individual 5 feet, 5 inches tall or 245 pounds for someone 5-foot-10. Apparently, the hiring policy is not based on the expense of health care for the obese or purported increased absenteeism, but linked to physical appearance. The center’s chief executive officer reportedly said in an interview, “The majority of our patients are over 65, and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance.” Because weight is not a protected category in Texas, some believe the policy is not illegal, but others claim the weight-based discrimination violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. In either event, while smokers have been subject to similar policies for some time, weight restrictions are apparently virtually unknown in the medical field. The center is reportedly involved in litigation over a policy involving physicians of Indian descent. See The Texas Tribune, March 26, 2012.
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Texas hospital refuses to hire employees with BMI exceeding 35
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