Trouble in Paradise

Weight as a hiring criteria

I thought only strippers and old-school air-line stewardesses had to worry about that type of thing. 

http://www.houstonianonline.com/viewpoints/why-citizens-medical-center-is-within-their-right-to-deny-obese-employees-1.2725254#.T4BDivUmySo

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FWIW, I disagree with making weight a criteria to be hired. Slippery slope and all that-- what's next? They only want blonde hair and blue eyes?

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Re: Weight as a hiring criteria

  • those are what I want to see!Big Smile

    But as far as the article.  I understand the point of wanting, their staff to be healthy and stuff like that, but I don't think that just because someone has a high BMI and is obese means they can't do the job required of them.  Apparently my BMI is a 38, but the fact that I'm clinically obese doesn't make me unable to lift and move over 600 lbs of cakes, powdered sugar, and other supplies on a daily basis.  I am more than aware that I need to lose a good deal of weight. But it doesn't make me unable to take care of what I need to.  I would think it would be more fair, if they had a requirement, that if you have a BMI of 35 or over, that you would need to prove your ability to perform the job, before getting hired.

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  • I think I'd be bothered more if it weren't for the fact that they're offering to help people who want to work there get under the cutoff. Frankly, I think more employers should care about helping employees get healthy.
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  • I do think it's good they're trying to help their current employees to get healthy as well, but I just feel like it's bad policy for them to not even consider people who don't fit their BMI number.  It just seems wrong to me that they would automatically dismiss someone my size who may be an excellent doctor or nurse, but for whatever reason may not be in good shape.
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  • Obesity is the number one most costly preventable health issue in the US. It costs companies billions more in health insurance premiums because people who are obese are so much more likely to have diabetes, heart problems, need joint replacement, etc. Statistically, obese people miss more days of work, thereby costing their employers productivity dollars and requiring other employees to take on their duties.

    All that said, I don't think it's fair to discriminate based on obesity. I agree with the PP that said this is a slippery slope. Instead, I believe that employer-sponsored wellness programs are the way to go - stocking healthier food in vending machines, providing free water and gifting or encouraging employees to use refillable bottles, sponsoring "Biggest Loser" style competitions, rewarding employees who track their healthy eating and exercise, these are all reasonable ways to combat obesity that don't involve discrimination in the hiring process.  

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  • My father was obese for several years because of the drugs he had to take while awaiting an organ transplant. The disease that made him need that transplant can strike anybody, is not related to lifestyle, and was acquired through no fault of his own. I am pretty sure he got canned from at least one job because he was the 400 pound elephant in the room. Like he needed life to sh*t on him again?

    So, yes, while obesity isn't befitting the image of a medical center, you never know why somebody is obese. How much does the reason even matter? Incentives to live healthy lifestyles, like gym discounts, are great, but anything beyond that usually falls into the sh*tty move category. Unless the job is chimney sweep or horse hockey or something else like that where size is related directly to ability to succeed in the job, it just shouldn't be done.

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  • We have health requirements at my employer. If you meet the requirements you pay 5% of the insurance premiums. If you don't, you pay 20%. I find that better than just flat-out not hiring people.

    We're measured on tobacco use (no drug testing though, so it still smells like weed around here), blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol, waist circumference and BMI. They'll bypass a high BMI if you are within the healthy range for the other limits. I can post the limits if anyone is curious.

  • image Mamasaurus:

    My father was obese for several years because of the drugs he had to take while awaiting an organ transplant. The disease that made him need that transplant can strike anybody, is not related to lifestyle, and was acquired through no fault of his own. I am pretty sure he got canned from at least one job because he was the 400 pound elephant in the room. Like he needed life to sh*t on him again?

    So, yes, while obesity isn't befitting the image of a medical center, you never know why somebody is obese. How much does the reason even matter? Incentives to live healthy lifestyles, like gym discounts, are great, but anything beyond that usually falls into the sh*tty move category. Unless the job is chimney sweep or horse hockey or something else like that where size is related directly to ability to succeed in the job, it just shouldn't be done.

    I am sorry that your dad was ill, but you must know that this is the exception to the rule. Only 1% of obesity is caused by a medical condition like hypothyroidism, and the percent caused by prescription drugs is also small. I'm curious about something though...your dad must have already been overweight when he started the medication, right? I don't think there are too many drugs that cause 200+ pound weight gain. 

    Also, I think you're missing the point of using obesity as a hiring point. It's not that the obese individual can't do their job, it's that they will cost the company more money just because they are overweight. Especially in this job market, it's likely there are equally qualified individuals who won't bring along the burden of that expense with them.

    Again, not saying I agree. Just saying I don't think you get the point. 

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  • I understand that this place might be trying to make sure that their employees are healthy and that it is more expensive to have insurance etc for overweight employees... but what about people with families?  If they pay for family healthcare isn't that more expensive?  What about parents... I know many parents that tend to take more time off because their children are ill.  I personally have no problem with this but it is a slippery slope... What happens if an employee gains weight? (I didn't read the article, sloppy I know)  Will they be fired?  What about people with a pre-existing condition such as diabetes etc?  Are they being discriminated against also?  Being overweight is an obvious condition, but things such as mental illness and drug addiction may not be...  I would argue that drug abuse or mental illness may be an even bigger problem!
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