It's fascinating how much "fat" or "obese" issues pop in the news. In today's edition of "In the News With Panda," we're talking about the hospital in Texas that refuses to hire people with a BMI over 35. Full article is here. Here are some excerpts with my comments in blue. (Disclaimer: My comments may upset some people but my intention is not to offend...just my own personal opinion and if you want to flame me in the comments, that's no problem.)
… an employee’s physique “should fit with a representational or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional,” including an appearance “free from distraction” for hospital patients. Unless the patient is there for a weight related concern and is about to get lectured on their own weight, this should not matter. How about people tattooed out the wazoo (I don't really care about this one as both Hubby and I have a tattoo but I know my mom or dad would rush to judgment) or have greasy hair? My father was recently in a burn unit of a hospital for several weeks and some of the nurses and assistants and orderlies (not sure if that's what they're called anymore) appeared greasy, dirty, unkempt. In my opinion, that's more important in appearance than if someone is overweight. Also, some of these people could barely speak English to where if my father needed something, he had to repeat himself regularly. But thank God they weren't fat! Really???
A 5-foot-10 man who weighs 245 pounds would have a BMI of over 35, the hospital's cutoff. A 5-foot-2 woman would be over the cutoff at 195 pounds. I think I could've been a great worker at a hospital at 230 lbs. I could move easily, could lift probably more than I can lift now (I've lost some muscle mass - that's what I get for not working out). Am I in better shape now? Of course, but would I be a better worker? Probably not. Little NSV here though - I could totally get a job here now! LOL.
You’re costing employers too much money for medical coverage, and increasingly firms are imposing penalties on workers who don’t get with the healthy program. OK. I'm torn on this one. On the one hand, I don't have issues with people who make poor health choices paying more for insurance premiums...smokers have had to do this for years. On the other hand, I have cost my insurance company MORE with surgery and follow up care than I ever did when I was fat. Now...in the long run, I'm sure they're saving money. But I was a "healthy" fat person. Other than birth control, I was on NO meds (this is why I had to fight to get my WLS). So the fact that you cost more is a generalization.
For anyone who lives outside Michigan, the only recourse is going to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and seeking help under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Don’t expect a lot. Simply being overweight generally does not qualify as a disability. And here's where I'm going to get flamed. Being fat is not, I repeat is NOT, a disability. I cannot stand it when I see people in motorized scooters or wheelchairs whose only issue is they're fat. This CAN be fixed. Get in the pool and move. Start walking, even if it's just to the end of your driveway. I think it's wrong to discriminate based on weight but you are NOT disabled if you are fat. We want "fat acceptance." Well, don't ask for preferential treatment because you're fat. Now, the best example I can find with this is Holly (I'm sorry to call you out but you REALLY inspire me). She couldn't walk to her mailbox...couldn't make it all the way around WalMart... so she started...one mailbox at a time until she could walk up to 5 miles! Was she/is she disabled?!?! NO! Now...she has arthritis in her knee, so what is she doing? Swimming! She's not making excuses. She's making the difference in her own life. Does this sound like someone who is disabled?!?! Absolutely not!
So there you have it. I believe an employer has the right not to hire someone they think can't perform a job. For instance, a mail carrier or meter maid who has to walk a route every day...probably not ideal to be 50 lbs overweight (although what a great way to lose weight!) but basing it on appearance and an "image" is just ridiculous. I've laid out my opinions here...interested in hearing what you think.