Citizens Medical Center in Texas Bans Hiring of Obese Employees

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Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas, has implemented a policy that bans the hiring of new employees with a body mass index of 35 or higher, according to a Texas Tribune report.

The policy, which when into effect more than a year ago, would prohibit the hospital from hiring someone who is 5-foot-5-inches and 210 pounds, for example, according to the report. Employees that become obese during employment are not terminated.

Texas law prohibits discrimination in hiring for race, age and religion, but weight is not specifically protected. The hospital defended its decision saying employees' image should project someone whose responsibility is promoting health.

However, a spokesperson for the Texas Hospital Association said in the report the move could put the hospital at risk of liability, since it could potentially be considered a disability, and people with disabilities are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the report.

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