April 01, 2012 Category: Business Litigation
One Texas hospital has recently been criticized in the media for its hiring policy. Any time that a business, regardless of size, institutes a policy regarding employees, such as a hiring policy, there is a potential for a dispute with existing or potential employees, this can leads to employment litigation and a need for a commercial litigation lawyer .
The Citizens Medical Center, based in Texas, is now under scrutiny in the public arena for issues including discrimination and a hiring policy concerning obesity. This Texas facility is being condemned by some for the way it has banned job applicants if they exceed a weight based on their height. Apparently, being overweight can hurt the image of the facility, which primarily provides healthcare to seniors.
The hiring policy states that prospective workers must possess a body mass index (BMI) of less than 35. This equates to 210 pounds for a person 5-ft.-5 and 245 pounds for a person 5-ft.-10. Furthermore, each person seeking employment should have a physique that “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional.”
In an interview, the hospital’s chief executive David Brown stated, “The majority of our patients are over 65, and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance.” Also in this category are applicants with facial piercings and tattoos that are visible.
An employment lawyer based in Austin, stated, “In Texas, employers cannot discriminate against employees because of their race, age or religion.” She went on to note that weight is not protected according to the state’s discrimination law.
Employers are often challenged by their policies and procedures. It is not easy to enact policies that will please everyone and provide a balance in the workplace.
Source: TexasTribune.com, ” How fat is too fat? Texas hospital won’t hire very obese workers ,” Emily Ramshaw, March 26, 2012