Hospital Won't Hire Obese Workers


    I'm not sure this link will take you to the article, but I read it this morning and couldn't believe my eyes! Seems a few lawsuits will be coming their way along with the race discrimination one in place already. What do you all think about it?
  2. Visit chevyv profile page

    About chevyv, BSN

    Joined: Apr '08; Posts: 1,692; Likes: 1,605
    Behavioral Health; from US
    Specialty: 20+ year(s) of experience in Gero Psych, Ortho Rebab, LTC, Psych


  3. by   not.done.yet
    Honestly? I love it. Because maybe now there will be something official on the law books making discrimination against someone due to weight illegal.
  4. by   wish_me_luck
    I read this on CNN, I believe it was. The cut off was a BMI of 35 and they offered to help the workers lose weight. I don't know if you guys realize this but a BMI of 35 is severely obese. Yes, I know BMI does not take into account muscle; but come one, how many nurses are ripped like a professional athlete? Like I said, this is not "oh you're a little pudgy or slightly heavy and you are instantly going to lose your job", this is they are very heavy and they refused the help to lose weight.

    That's my opinion...I think people really take stuff out of context. *shrugs*
    Last edit by wish_me_luck on Apr 11, '12 : Reason: wording
  5. by   Double-Helix
    I don't think it's illegal to refuse to hire employees who are overweight. The Constitution only protects from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, and age. Obesity is not a protected category.

    I'm not really surprised that this is starting to happen. It's the same debate that occurs over hospitals refusing to hire smokers. It's less healthy, employees have more absences, higher health insurance costs, poor reflection of the hospital. A BMI of 35 is also very high. Healthy is 18.5-25. Even the professional athlete example referenced in the article would still qualify for employment.

    I also think that there might be something to the fact that employees who are severely overweight are physically less able to perform the same duties as someone who is not overweight. Although this generalization shouldn't be applied to all workers, but on a case by case basis. But it's often easier for the hospital to say they aren't going to hire anyone who is overweight, rather than taking the time to evaluate each employee. Just like not all smokers have health problems, but some do. Of course, employees that are not overweight and don't smoke can have health problems as well.

    I don't think it's a good idea for businesses to start making stereotypical policies, but let's face it- it's been going on behind the scenes for years.
  6. by   chevyv
    There are a few states that have a weight discrimmination on the books. Madison WI is one of them.

    They may support their employees who want to lose weight, but they will not hire you if you happen to be obese. How long do they support their obese workers already there before getting rid of them? If a place says we won't hire someone with a BMI over 35, whats to say another wont hire you with a BMI over 27? I guess I'm wondering where it ends. I'm short, will I not be able to be hired because I'm not over 5'4"? I know that's pulling something way out of left field but I'm just wondering where the line gets drawn and who decides where it's drawn?

    I agree that it is not a protected category unless it falls under ADA.....hmmmm
  7. by   caroladybelle
    I saw this on Fox online.What was really disgraceful on that site were the nasty comments.
  8. by   bagladyrn
    So, my education, intelligence, training, years of experience count for nothing against my waist measurement. Some really screwed up priorities here....
  9. by   PrayToTheUnicorn
    Ah, the slippery slope argument, that while logical is also improbable, and based on extreme fear. The idea of including all for fear of excluding a few is very problematic.
  10. by   wish_me_luck
    I don't know where the line gets drawn honestly. I just know from my perspective, I am very into public health and it's what I want to do. I am young and so naturally, my metabolism is higher; but other than my personal health and well being, I strive to maintain a decent weight because if I am educating patients on healthy lifestyles, I feel like I can't be overweight. It's the pot calling the kettle black.
  11. by   HouTx
    As a not-svelte person, my first reaction to this announcement was negative. However, it is perfectly legal. FLSA regulations allow an employer to use any "bona fide occupational qualifications" (BOQs) to determine job eligibility. Functional job requirements are always spelled out as part of the job description. Functional requirements of bedside nursing jobs include lifting, walking, bending, standing, etc..... and these are simply not possible with a very high BMI. As long as the requirements are tied to BOQs and applied to everyone who is hired - it doesn't seem to violate FLSA.

    On a personal note whenever I have had to pick up the slack for co-workers who couldn't (or wouldn't) perform some tasks it felt OK when the cause was associated with something of a limited duration (ex: stumping along on a walking cast) but much less tolerable if there was no end in sight. It created resentment and poor morale on the part of those left with the extra work.

    It is interesting that this is being associated with race discrimination. Victoria is only 90 miles away from Houston - which is the most diverse city in the US according to the latest census data.
  12. by   DemonWings
    I read that they are not going to hire obese people, but the morbidly obese people are considered disabled, which are a protected group that can not be discriminated against. I dont really see how it will be worth it to deny someone employment who is 240 lbs but be forced to hire someone who is 440 lbs. I guess they can say they will be disqualified for other issues such as inability to perform the duties, but who knows.
  13. by   PrayToTheUnicorn
    You can't be "forced" to hire someone.
  14. by   Double-Helix
    Is morbid obesity actually a disability, legally? For example, can you apply for disability payments based solely on the fact that you are morbidly obese?

    I'm not 100% sure, but I really doubt it. You would have to show that you are somehow unable to perform the duties of a job because of your obesity, and a person who can't perform the duties of their job isn't going to be hired anyway. But if you are morbidly obese but capable of working, you wouldn't qualify for disability. But you also wouldn't be hired by this hospital.