Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Body Mass Index As a Hiring Criteria


Hat tip to (probably my favorite blog title in our corner of the world) the Evil HR Lady for catching news from my own back yard, see the original news article, Victoria Hospital Won't Hire Very Obese Workers, as Victoria is just a couple of hours down the road from me, but  also a brilliant commentary on the policy itsefl.

Hard to top anything Suzanne Lucas has to say in her post, Is it okay to discriminate against obese people?, so just check it out.

One thing that I did find interesting was the comment from the Administrator that it was based on the preference of patients. 

Although client preference alone does not automatically push one across any legal boundry, over the years it's one of those "red flag" type comments that tends to make me sit up and pay attention because there could be something troubling about to occur.

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Comments:
Refusal to hire the obese is bumping up against the thin line of cases of ADA and state law violations where the employer is held in violation because the spurned applicants "are regarded as being disabled." MA is one that comes to mind; there are many more.
It's a risky policy I'd counsel against.
As to client preference, that was tested to the max in the 70's when the NYS Commission filed charges against a topless bar on behalf of a topless dancer.
 
I omitted the fact the CP was flat chested. Sorry
 
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