Hospital bans obese applicants

Maybe it’s the reputation of hospitals as unhealthiest of places. Or the bad rap the south gets for its bad health habits -- where Texas frequently flirts with the top 10 in obesity rates.

Either way, Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas, decided it’s had enough and is saying no to fat job prospects, according to a story in the Texas Tribune. The hospital simply refuses applicants with a BMI of 35 or higher.

But despite how crazy it might sound at first blush, Texas law – which prohibits age, sex or age discrimination – says nothing about weight. In fact, Michigan’s the only state in the nation that prohibits weight discrimination.

Their explanation? The tribune reports Citizens Medical Center CEO David Brown spelled it out in an interview recently: “The majority of our patients are over 65, and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance. 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.”

And while this might be the first reported case of a hospital banning obese applicants, several have already prohibited smokers, citing increased health care costs.

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