On Obesity Discrimination

April 4th, 2012 by JBWK

CBS MoneyWatch flagged an interesting issue that is beginning to surface quite often: Is it OK to discriminate against obese people?

It tells the story of the Victoria Hospital system in Texas, which instituted a new policy of refusing to hire anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeding 35. It provides some perspective: the threshold is about 210 pounds for a 5′ 5″ person.

The most notable part, however, is that the practice is legal in most states. Unless the employee’s or applicant’s obesity is caused by an ADA-protected disability, it’s also legal in Virginia. Very few jurisdictions prohibit employment discrimination based on obesity alone.


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