Texas Hospital Won’t Hire Obese Applicants

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File photo of an obese person being weighed at a doctor's office. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

File photo of an obese person being weighed at a doctor’s office. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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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.

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