The Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas, is banning applicants, who are overweight, from working at the facility.
The hospital policy states that an employee’s physique “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional" and be "free from distraction” for hospital patients.
Specifically, this means that employees must have a body mass index of less than 35 (which is 245 pounds for someone who is 5' 10"). Technically, an NFL football player could be in violation of this policy, even though his body is primarily muscle.
Hospital chief executive David Brown said the rule was needed because most of the patients are elderly: “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.”
DeDe Church, a Texas employment lawyer, said the policy is legal: “In Texas, employers cannot discriminate against employees because of their race, age or religion. Weight is not one of those protected categories.”
Citizens Medical Center is currently battling allegations of discrimination filed by three physicians of Indian descent based on a memo that Brown wrote.