VICTORIA, Tex. (CBS Houston) ? Citizens Medical Center has instituted a policy which requires that all employees have a body mass index of less than 35.
The Texas Tribune is reporting that the Victoria hospital mandates that the body of every employee ?should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional.?
?The majority of our patients are over 65, and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance,? hospital chief executive David Brown added to the paper. ?We have the ability as an employer to characterize our process and to have a policy that says what?s best for our business and for our patients.?
Before being hired, a physician screens each potential employee to assess their general fitness as it pertains to their position of interest. The test includes measuring body mass index.
Some candidates have allegedly already been turned down for their weight problems. Those who become obese after hiring are not fired.
Brown noted that the hospital tries to help heavier candidates lose the extra pounds.
?We have some people who are applicants and they know the requirements, and we try and help them get there but they?re not interested,? he said. ?So that?s fine, they can go work somewhere else.?
Attention for their hiring criteria is nothing new for Citizens Medical ? the hospital is reportedly involved in litigation with doctors of Indian descent for charges of discrimination.
Body mass index, or BMI for short, is a system by which body fatness can be calculated factoring in one?s weight and height, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Under the hospital?s rules, a person who stands at 5?5″ and weighs over 210 pounds, or a person at 5?10″ weighing over 245 pounds, would not meet eligibility requirements for hire.
What do you think? Legal? Justifiable?
DD 8.03, DD 6.05, DS 3.07, DD 5.09, and DS arrived 6.17.12
I don't understand why they are doing it. Because their patients have "expectations about appearance?" Huh???? What if I'm trim enough, but I have crooked teeth, or whatever? If a person's size doesn't limit their ability to do their job, then I don't see how it's any of the employers business. Now, if the person has to do a job that is physically demanding and requires a certain level of physical fitness, that makes perfect sense that they would test to make sure that you meet that level of fitness prior to hiring you. But if it's all about looks....I don't see how that could be legal.
But Alissa, if you have crooked teeth, I bet you wouldn't be able to get a job at a Dentist's/Orthodontists office. If I knew my doctor smoked, don't you think it'd be kind of hard for me to take his advice to quit smoking for my health? You guys don't think it undermines the advice that Drs/nurses/CNA's should be giving if they themselves are living examples of what not to do? I wouldn't go to a mechanic that I saw stranded on the side of the road because he forgot to change his oil; why would I go to a Dr. that didn't eat right and exercise enough to keep his BMI below 35 (this is obviously not for those who are visibly fit and are the exceptions to the chart's validity)? If they can say no smoking, they can say no morbidly obese and I think most people think hospitals have the right to say no smoking to their employees.
Just like the Hooter's guy hiring a cute girl over an ugly one except in this case, the hospital offers to help those applying to meet the requirements.
My mother used to work for a plastic surgeon. It was suspected that once the women got over a certain age, they were railroaded out because they didn't look young enough. This seemed to happen to my mother as well (she is 51 and had been at the office for over 12 years and never had any sort of write up or warning prior to being let go.) Recently we discovered an ad for a position at the drs office on Craig's list that flat out says "Submit a picture of yourself, otherwise I'll just find you on FB." Is that right, just because he is a plastic surgeon? I don't think so.
It might not be right, but I don't think it should be illegal to base your hiring preferences on things you know will attract customers or will help upsell your product. Do you think a Dentist should have to hire someone with awful teeth just because they happen to be the most qualified on paper? Or that a receptionist who looks sloppy should get preference just because she looks better on paper? I don't. I think you have to find the right fit for the position. And I am serious when I say that it is hard to listen to someone give you advice you know they aren't taking.
Ultimately this is going to come down to how one feels about obesity being a protected class or not.
I do have a feeling it has more to do with sick days and insurance costs than anything though.
How many people do you see who are clueless or in denial that their knee/heart/arthritis/hair loss/lung (just in my family) issues can be helped by exercising and getting to a healthy weight?