Hospital’s Big Fat Hiring Discrimination

Quiz:  What do we call it when companies refuse to hire someone based on how they look.

Answer:  Discrimination.  Prejudice.  Bigotry.

That’s what you will experience if you are a healthcare professional with a BMI of 35 or higher and you apply for a job at Citizen’s Medical Center in Victoria, Texas.

The hospital feels that employees “should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of the job of a healthcare professional,” including an appearance “free from distraction” for hospital patients.

So what they are saying is, they only want to hire employes who fulfill whatever stereotypes people may have about health care professionals, as long as they can get away with it legally.

Chief Executive David Brown elucidates:  “The majority of our patients are over 65, and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance.  We have the ability as an employer to characterize our process and to have a policy that says what’s best for our business and for our patients.”

Let’s paraphrase “We perceive that our customers are weight bigots and so we choose to be weight bigots as a company.”

For the record, I’m not asking them to ignore the patients expectations, I’m expecting them to educate them that weight and health are two different things, and allow fat employees to give these patients the opportunity to question their stereotypes.

They are using BMI, a simple ratio of weight and height, to determine obesity.  So, if The Rock got his nursing degree and applied to work at Citizen’s Medical, he would be turned down because of his “obesity”.  Using BMI discriminates against tall people and muscular people as well as fat people.

The “good news” according to news reports is that existing employees who are or become obese aren’t getting fired.

Yet.

Only Michigan, and six cities (Santa Cruz & San Francisco California, Madison, WI, Urbana, IL, Washington, DC and Binghamton, NY)  have laws protecting from discrimination based on size.  In Texas, where I live (until I move to LA in a couple of months) this discrimination is perfectly legal.  There is no protection from discrimination based on size, which is why this hospital can say that they don’t want to hire fatties because their patients are prejudiced against them, and that’s a perfectly legal reason.

And that’s fucked up.  Especially since every bit of evidence that exists says that most fat people cannot become thin longterm.  What this supposed healthcare organization is encouraging, whether they know it or not, is that people in Victoria Texas who have developed healthcare skills and want to use them at this hospital have to diet to “make weight” so that they can be hired, knowing that they will gain the weight back and be subject to the dangers of weight cycling (not to mention the dangers of being fired.)

Make no mistake, Citizen’s Medical is blatantly discriminating against people based on whether or not they fit a stereotype of “health” that has been largely created by the diet industry which profits from the illusion that weight and health are the same thing.

When Citizen’s Medical says “We have the ability as an employer to characterize our process and to have a policy that says what’s best for our business and for our patients.”  what they are saying is – we want to provide our patients with employees who fit with our patients stereotypes, whether or not they are the best people for the actual job.

And they know it.  The hospital has stated that its new policy doesn’t show that there was an increased cost for obese employees nor did the policy claim that obese workers could not perform their job at a satisfactory level. Hospital officials stated that the sole reason for the policy is appearance and the image of the hospital.

How far does this go?  What other businesses will take a page from the Citizen’s Medical book and decide that their clients are prejudiced against fat people and so they should just discriminate against us in hiring. This is why I’m a Fat Activist. You know the old saying – you’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll get steamrolled by crazy weight bigots who want to revel in their bigotry – or something like that.

UPDATE:  Our letter writing campaign worked and they have rescinded their discriminatory policy.  Activism works!

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Published in: on April 7, 2012 at 11:14 am  Comments (49)  

49 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Healthcare professionals: we go there because of what they can do, not because of what they look like! How bout we instigate a rule that only really attractive people can become plastic surgeons!

    How many male plastic surgeons have you seen that look like brad pit eh? lol…

    I think the only time i ever got annoyed with the size of a healthcare professional was the one who told me to lose weight. being told you need to lose weight at 280lbs by someone who weighs at least 350lbs is like her removing a splinter from my eye while keeping the plank in her own! I was rather peeved by that experience.

    how gives a rat’s ass what someone looks like providing it doesn’t impinge on their ability to do their job.

    • We have a woman like this where I work. She’s one of the residents (I work in a retirement community) so we can’t tell her off. She’s around the same size that I am (a 2x to 3x, and I know because I wash her clothes every other week.) The day shift fellow has a little bit of a pot belly although he’s an in-betweenie at most, and she’s always shaking her finger at him whenever he brings her clothes back or makes her bed or such and telling him “young man, you should not have a pot belly like that!”
      I told him it made me wonder if she was living in denial of her own hefty build, or if she had fun house mirrors in her apartment to make her appear thin.

    • Apparently, plastic surgeons only care to have really attractive people working for them, however. I once applied for a job (for which I was quite qualified) in a plastic surgery practice and was not hired because I was told I did not fit the image that the practice was trying to project. Damn! I thought I looked really, really good the day I went for that interview!

  2. I think CMC is somewhat unique not because it discriminates against people of size, but because it’s codified and publicized that discrimination. Sizist discrimination is rampant in hiring, as sizism is rampant. If most people believe that fatness is equivalent to lack of motivation, intelligence, and creativity, then instead of saying, “BMI is too high,” in their interview notes, they’ll say something like, “Not a good fit for the company: might not be able to handle big projects, or think outside the box.” (I know, what an ironic statement!)

    In my opinion we’re going to be seeing a lot more outright sizist discrimination in hiring like CMC’s, and outright sizist discrimination in benefits rewards like Whole Foods. I tell everyone who I talk to about size issues that we’re nowhere near the peak of this moral panic yet. This is going to turn into an all-out crusade, as an aging population is going to push healthcare costs up and up and up.

    Constant vigilance. Write to these places. Publish your letters on your blogs, Tumblr’s, FB pages, Google+, Pinterest. Speak truth as loudly as you can. Right now, it’s our only defense. And if we don’t want the next generation — our children, or the children in our lives — to be put on forcible diets or be subject to surgical procedures or a lifetime of second class citizenship, then we need to keep fighting back. If you think those things aren’t going to happen, then realize they’re already happening: school districts are working to get kids to consume fewer calories of the ‘right’ foods, and WL surgery for kids is being blessed the UK’s NHS: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2052581/Obese-children-young-11-gastric-implant-NHS.html

  3. Find it sad that one of the cities on that list is Madison. We have lived there in the past and have worked there. My husband keeps telling me that I’m more likely to find a job than he is because I’m a female with hearing loss and that makes me more desirable for a company than an older male with no disabilities. Find it sad though that my size would be used against me and I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some racism involved in this too considering the high population of Hispanics in that area. Statistically, they are more likely to be overweight and obese compared to Caucasians so the question does cross my mind.

    • I think she said Madison is one of the few cities where it is illegal to discriminate based on size or weight (rather than the other way around). I would be disappointed, too, if they had laws allowing it, since I used to live in Madison and have always loved it.

      • Oh, okay I didn’t read that right. What happens when I try to read when I have a cold, reading comprehension goes down the drain. When I first read it, it didn’t make sense because I had always thought Madison was a little more progressive (well, at least before the current governor came in and ended collective bargaining for state union workers) which was why the thought that it might have been race related came to mind.

        That’s good to know though if we ever move back to that area. My husband lived there for years and I lived there with him for a brief period and then we spent a few years about half an hour NE of there but he worked in Madison. Always enjoyed it, really wished I had gone to college there instead of where I went to college (which was where my mom wanted me to go). I had a brother who lived there for years too. If only housing wasn’t so expensive!

  4. There’s nothing on their facebook page – yet. Help me come up with a “short to the point” for their wall? (“Weight discrimination is wrong”) is too mild, but I don’t want to be rude (kill ’em with kindess)

    • How about, “Heavier healthcare workers are no less competent than thinner ones. Your refusal to hire them is your loss, not theirs.”

      Or: “Hate and ignorance are bad hiring polices. Don’t discriminate against heavier people in hiring.”

      Or: “Don’t hide behind your clientele. They’re not to blame for your ignorant discrimination against heavy people in your hiring policy: *you* are.”

      Or: “You discriminate against heavy people in hiring. What’s next, discriminating against heavier patients? Healthcare is supposed to be for everyone, not just those who you think look like they ‘deserve’ it.”

    • There was one message when I posted mine around 9AM Eastern. I also commented on two of their posts. If both wall posts, and all my comments, are gone, then they are deleting them.

      • yep, they’re deleting wall posts. The comments on their posts are still there.

      • I suggest posting comments on their existing posts AND on their photos. For example, they have three photos that appear to be marketing materials. These could present the perfect opportunity to educate them on issues of weight.

        or bring the snark, such as:

        That dude definitely looks like his BMI could be greater than 35. You wouldn’t want do offend potential customers.

        or

        The guy on the left, in the baggy shirt, he looks like he’s trying to hide his higher BMI. For the sake of your elderly patients, you should ‘shop in a thinner model.

        or

        I wonder what their BMIs are?

        Because, as I said before, they are deleting wall posts.

      • Jill, you can tag them from your own page as well. I did both. Start getting screen caps of the good stuff.

  5. Here’s my letter:

    Dear Citizens Medical Center,

    I came across several articles reporting the disturbing news about discriminatory hiring practices at your facility and I would like to ask you if this information is true.

    Do you discriminate against prospective employees who are above a BMI of 35?

    If so, what is your lower range of acceptable BMI? Do you also discriminate against prospective employees who are underweight? I would think if your concern is to present a stereotypical image of a health care professional you would not want anyone excessively thin working for you, as excessively thin people tend to also look unhealthy, especially in the eyes of those over 65.

    Do you likewise discriminate against prospective employees based on skin color? For instance, someone with a ruddy complexion, or a sallow complexion? As these traits may indicate some form of illness regardless of a person’s weight.

    Because you appear to be very concerned with how your employees look, can it then be assumed that prospective employees who fit within a certain BMI category regardless of any existing health problems such as alcohol or drug addiction, cancer, mental illness, HIV status or other health conditions that may not be readily apparent based on someone’s size will not be discriminated against?

    Lastly, do you accept and treat patients whose BMI falls above your threshold? As according to the articles I have read, your concern is for the sensibilities of your patients, and if seeing an overweight employee might be in some way distressful for them, I can imagine having to see an overweight patient might also cause them some emotional or mental anguish. Please let me know, as I have friends and family in the area and would like to direct them away from your medical center should they be at risk of offending anyone who works there or uses the facilities by having the audacity to be of a BMI over 35.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    • THIS LETTER IS MADE OF WIN!!!

    • Your letter is far better than my snippy tweet. I bow down!

      • Thanks! I could have gone on for pages. This whole thing just makes me insane.

  6. I had this happen when I applied for a job at a healthclub. I did work out there and I did lose inches but I never lost the weight. However people saw the changes in me. I applied for the job because I thought since I knew all the machines there very well and was always teaching others how to use them that It would be perfect for me. Instead the owner was looking at some skinny college kid who never worked out a day in her life.

    I got mad. I told her who do you think those people out there will listen to…….me who they watched working out and doing the very thing they are doing or some skinny kid whos never even been in here? This was many yrs ago before people knew how to handle discrimination like this. But I persisted and got the job.🙂 Still its a shame that people assume cuz we have some weight that we cant do a job or be a good representative for others.

    • GOOD FOR YOU!!!

    • I faced similar prejudices when looking for jobs as a bartender, of all things. These restaurant and club owners want their bartenders to be cute young thangs. Well, the cute young thangs are going to be the ones calling into work on a Friday night because they’ve got a hot date. Their loss for not hiring Old Reliable, who is going to show up because she needs the work!

  7. commented on the post other people had commented on. wow, just wow.

  8. I told ’em “Hey @citizensmedical size discrimination is bigotry, just like any other prejudice. A person’s size doesn’t determine their ability.”
    I’m @therealcie on Twitter. I’m not very exciting to follow but I’m there!

  9. I live in Santa Cruz, CA, and while there are many issues here (such as every other surrounding county dumping their homeless in our city- including San Fran at some point giving all the most high-needs homeless free one-way bus tickets to Santa Cruz to the point that we have tons of homeless roaming the streets like zombies with little to no medication or support services for their sheer numbers, which makes me feel both sad and unsafe in many situations…blargh, but that’s a rant for another time) the whole “cannot discriminate based on size” is a really important one for me. I work for the County and we did have a wellness program for healthy lifestyle changes awhile back, but they did blood draws, measurements, etc to get baselines for health instead of JUST weighing people (although there was some weighing and that was why I did not feel comfortable participating in it). The focus was on improving blood test numbers (cholesterol, etc) over a span of 6 months to a year, offering healthier food choices in the cafeteria, and workout groups during lunch/breaks for people to feel more comfortable doing aerobic walking or cycling or pilates/yoga. It was very awesome to some extent- I saw people who said they never felt comfortable exercising meeting up outside with coworkers every day to enjoy a nice brisk walk, and even though most of them didn’t lose weight, their health improved (proven by the blood draw at the end of the program) and most of them have continued their lunch time walks even after the program ended. Many of the women who participated were larger, and many of them seemed very focused on the weight loss aspect at first, but when they noticed that their cholesterol was better, and they felt more energetic, many of them seemed to care less about the weight loss than the improvements in their health and well being. Obviously, there were prizes for people who improved numbers and health markers the most, and a special party at the end for all participants- but it was fairly non-weight-loss centric as far as these sorts of programs tend to go.

    I think that it’s absolutely important for a workplace to encourage healthy habits in their workers. In Japan, they often have stretches and morning calisthenics for all of their workers before starting the day. And in my work, I am an avid bike-to-worker and have been using my connections to help improve our cycling conditions and facilities (we just refurbished a bunch of bike lockers and our enclosure has been altered to be much more accessible). All of these things make exercising easier and more fun, instead of difficult to schedule and outright torture. Our jobs, whether we like or not, are a huge part of our lives, just as school was a huge part of our lives before. All institutions where we must be present for 6-8 hours minimum should have comprehensive health options that give workers/students options and easy opportunities for fitness/exercise/healthy food options to choose from. If the workplace is health-positive (instead of weight negative) I honestly think that EVERYONE will benefit (especially those who are older, or those who never exercise because they think that being thin exempts them from movement).

    I just don’t think that it’s ok for a workplace to judge someone’s weight as the main marker for health or worthiness for a job. Weight is an unrelated factor- it is an appearance and possibly a mobility aspect (especially if you have other disabilities as well), but it is by no means a disqualifier for your ability to do a great job in your career.

    I do, however, find myself blessed to live in such an accessible area. I live within walking or bicycling distance to pretty much everywhere I want to go, and that is probably one reason why my health is so good (even though my weight has remained around the same for the last couple of years since my last pregnancy).

    I think that we need to address the infrastructure and composition of our communities- make them intuitively accessible and safe for pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Because, let’s face it, there are many places in the country where it’s unsafe to walk around and you live so far from everything else you’re forced to drive all over the place. I think that, as a culture, we must work diligently to solve this for the health of our whole country. Because it’s not just about weight. It’s about isolation and forcing people to be slaves to their gas-and-electric-guzzling vehicles.

    • YES, exactly Nanasha! This is why I get SO frustrated when people compare the US to other countries as far as weight. The US is HUGE and there are massive areas of the country that are rural with NO access to public transportation. Other parts of the country, while not as rural, have really sucky public transportation. The US, when it comes to public transportation in the majority of the country, SUCKS in comparison to other countries. Not sure how Japan compares to South Korea (though I know that cost of living is significantly higher in Japan) but South Korea had EXCELLENT public transportation. You also had places where you could not drive at all, you HAD to walk (something we don’t see a lot of around here). When I was in Korea, I lost 7 lbs (maybe more, not sure what I weighed before I left) in a matter of months simply from walking more (because I sure wasn’t eating any better, if anything, I was eating WORSE due to all of the donut places over there and all the eating out we were doing). And I really do think that the reason for that was all of the walking I was doing. We lived in a very small apartment which meant I needed to get out more or I would go nuts. We lived near the subway/bus stop and there were places to go where we did a lot of walking around (including a zoo that was on a hill!). You don’t see this in the US and while there’s a lot of talk about how we need to consume less gas and use more public transportation, the money is not put into the programs to make this possible and it’s SO incredibly frustrating. It’s one of the things I really wish the US would get going on but I know that it’s not entirely possible in some places due to the amount of rural areas we have. And yes, it does leave people pretty much dependent on driving.

    • “I think that it’s absolutely important for a workplace to encourage healthy habits in their workers”

      “Encourage”? That’s an interesting word to use for employers intruding in their employees’ lives. I have a masters degree and abilities and experiences for the jobs I’ve done that have nothing what-so-ever to do with my “health habits”, and I have nothing but absolute contempt for any employer who would insult my intelligence by doing anything to “encourage healthy habits” in me or those around me. It is a tiresome trope used against fat people that they’re stupid and don’t know how to be “healthy”. And who defines these so-called “healthy habits”?—oh yeah, people who know fuck all about my personal health or the health of any of their other employees. Soo not so “healthy” after all on their part it’s just massive fail.

      It also leads to discriminatory “habits” such as the above where this hospital decides they don’t want fat people working there. They’re not alone of course as discrimination against fat people is well documented and many industries will not hire fat people in certain positions–usually high profile and/or highly lucrative positions. That’s also why fat people earn less than their thinner counterparts.

      You know what’s “absolutely important for a workplace to encourage”?–Equality and non-discriminatory practices in the workplace. If they’re want to encourage their employee’s to be “healthy” then they can pay a living wage, contribute to a 401k, offer health care insurance and not discriminate against those marginalized in society. The above named hospital fails on all counts.

      • To be absolutely honest, my comment was not directly in reference to the hospital in question or the discrimination of fat people.

        In the County where I live (Santa Cruz) there is an actual law on the books against weight or size discrimination. I am well known in the bicycling community and can often be seen cycling around town (and to and from work several times a day). When the health program started at my job, I decided not to participate in it specifically because I have my own work out routine and get regular blood work done for my various health conditions (Hashimoto’s Disease/PCOS). No one asked me if I was doing the program or not, and I am a fairly large lady. I think that in the case of many workplaces, the way that they implement “wellness programs” is draconian and messed up.

        However, I don’t think that just because they are doing it wrong now, that there is no potential to improve the services and options.

        I mean, what if a health support program was simply part of your benefits package? I know that at my job I have Medical and dental insurance, but I know people who don’t use their dental insurance or opt out of medical coverage. It’s a choice, just like any other- but the idea that the workplace would be interested in offering the level of access to comprehensive wellness programs (instead of simply preaching weight loss and thinness), I think that it could be a real revolution in keeping workers happy and healthier, regardless of their waistlines.

        I also honestly think that people are absolutely welcome to never exercise a second in their lives and eat whatever they want. And it is not the place of the workplace to JUDGE or STIGMATIZE people for their choices. However, if the interest is promoting health, changes in infrastructure in the workplace can really make it much easier for people to make the sorts of changes that they do not otherwise have the support to make in their lives.

        And THAT is a truly empowering feeling.

    • Thanks for the awesome comment. I wanted to discuss more the concept of “I think that it’s absolutely important for a workplace to encourage healthy habits in their workers.”

      One thing I think that we need to be careful of is taking a “one size fits all” approach to health. I haven’t been in a corporate workplace for a while but one of the things that I had trouble with the last time I worked in an office was that I didn’t participate in company exercise programs (because my training schedule for dance is rigorous and specific and I don’t need more activity). I got a tremendous amount of peer pressure and a talk from the person who hired me about how they were committed to a healthy workplace. I know other workplaces where fat employees are forced to participate in Weight Watchers on their unpaid lunch hours (a program that has a greater than 95% failure rate), including weekly weigh-ins in front of their coworkers, and if they refuse or they lose their benefits or have to pay significantly higher co-pays.

      I think we need to remember that work is a contract whereby I do a job for a prescribed amount of compensation, and if I want to live a sedentary life eating only Twinkies and Cokes then I’m allowed to do that as long as it does interfere with my ability to do the job.

      If I were the underpants overload, insurance would not come through our workplace so that they could focus on hiring the best person for the job they need done and not worry if that person will increase their healthcare premiums. I’m all for work providing a variety of foods for people to choose from and offering movement options that people enjoy, but I think we need to be very careful to make a distinction between giving people the ability to choose from a variety of options based on how highly they’ve prioritized health and what path they’ve chosen, rather than telling people what constitutes being healthy and how they have to go about it.

      ~Ragen

      • When I was saying “Encouraging” healthy habits, I was speaking more in an infrastructural sort of way. There are a lot of people who would exercise more or eat higher quality foods if they had ACCESS to them, and that’s more really what I’m hoping for- access for ALL. There are a lot of poor areas where there are food deserts and the only food nearby is the local fast food place. While it’s nice to have fast food if you want it, if it’s the ONLY OPTION, that’s where I get my panties in a bunch- I think that people may WANT to choose something else, but are unable because of the way that their location is set up. I think that workplaces should make it easier and more intuitive to enjoy healthy behaviors if they are truly all about the health thing. And honestly, one of the best parts about the program that my workplace put into effect was that it really helped connect people to do lunch and breaktime walks and other fun stuff TOGETHER, which really made the exercise fun and enjoyable.

        I’m not saying everyone has to exercise and eat the best possible ever (lord knows, I’m not perfect either!) but I do think that giving people ACCESS to make their own choices is a very important thing that many people will want to take advantage of.

        Besides, I honestly think that if you’re working or going to school somewhere at least 6-8 hours a day, you’re spending a good chunk of your 24 hours there per day and that’s an integral part of one’s lifestyle- and at least for me, lifestyle includes EVERYTHING, in and out of work. So as far as I’m concerned, if my workplace cannot support my healthy lifestyle, I will be less likely to choose that place of work for my own career.

        The really important thing here is choice. To truly make the best decision for yourself, having options like this would be very empowering for many people, even if not everyone would be interested.

  10. I know I totally just wrote a novel above, but I also want to say that as the employee newsletter writer for my department, whenever we do health-specific articles, I always try to make them HAES-friendly and cut out the weight loss advice. I want to make health articles health-positive, not “make you feel like crap so you’ll go on a diet.”

    Just like Ragen said before- there is always something you can do, even if it’s just something small. When you lead by example, it can give courage to others, even if they never say anything about it.

  11. Part of me wants to send them my very qualified resume, and my fantasy is that when they call me for an interview, I show up with a bunch of rad fatties and dance through their hallways obnoxiously in protest…it kind of makes me smile to imagine it!

  12. just went to the FB page for this hospital. I haven’t finished my coffee yet so no witty response from me, but there are a plenty of comments about the policy! hehehe! yay!
    Allison

  13. I am (barely) within the weight limit, but I have quite the visual distraction: My leg brace and cane! So I guess I wouldn’t qualify.

    But here’s what gets me most. It may be legal to pull this kind of stunt in Texas, but don’t these people get that it’s immoral, unethical, unkind, short-sighted. . . ? The list goes on.

  14. Ragen,
    I left a msg on their facebook and sent an email. You know, at first I was mad, then frustrated and now I am just sad and you could say hurt. What the “hell”? We just have to keep up the work of education. I hope I can meet you before you move to Ca. Where in LA are you moving to? My book Fatology 101 is almost finished. I will send you a copy if I can finish it before you move. The cover is being designed and I hope to have it printed in 4 weeks. Keep up the good work and I will sure do my part.

  15. SO MUCH WISDOM in this article AND in all the responses.

    Workplace wellness is all the rage because healthy employees are less expensive. The obvious next step is “we can’t hire you because fat people have expensive health problems.” Never mind the skinny smoker /alcoholic / lousy driver etc. Health care and hiring have to be for all!

    • Honestly, I don’t think that being unhealthy should ever be a reason not to hire someone. I mean, honestly, we all die. And people who don’t die now will die later. There are no immortally young workers (as much as you might think that such things existed from all the media hype).

      In general, I think that “health” concerns are generally thinly designed initiatives to get rid of workers before they get enough seniority or pay so they can actually have a nice lifelong career. Any excuse to get rid of an employee because they’re “expensive” is basically an excuse to get rid of an employee because the company is full of greedy bastards and would prefer to just make everyone work for free (slavery) if they could get away with it. Of course, if you think about it, that’s basically what unpaid internships are, especially since many of them do NOT lead to actual paid jobs.

  16. Their FB page is now covered with awesomeness! 🙂

  17. Thank you for posting this. This is an issue I care about deeply, as my late fiance suffered weight bias. I have made it my mission to love people “from the inside out” and motivate others to do the same. See my blog (linked on my name) for more.

    In a recent post I embedded a video made by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, a fantastic organization that (among other things) fights weight bias. The video talks about weight bias in health care generally and then lists several things that doctors and other medical professionals can do to eliminate weight bias in their practices. Here’s the link: http://lovingfromtheinsideout.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-doctors-can-do-about-weight-bias.html.

    I plan to post the video to the hospital’s FB (and perhaps try to educate them in other ways too) and share your post here as well. Keep up the good fight!

  18. I wanted to ask Citizen’s Medical if they were going to start patrolling the Facebook pages of their prospective employees, refusing to hire them because they were smoking a cigarette or drinking in a photo. Then I realized the answer is “probably.”

  19. Some of their older patients probably have some longstanding racial and gender prejudices, too. Seeing a non-white healthcare professional, a female physician, etc., probably messes with those people’s preconceptions about what a healthcare professional “should” look like way more than seeing a fat healthcare provider. Hard to know where to draw the line if you’re going to start indulging people’s prejudices to avoid making them uncomfortable . . .

    • Exactly.

      Thanks for addressing this, Ragen. I was going to, but you beat me to the punch. Yay!

      And Bea, spot on. Many people have all kinds of biases about various professionals “should” look like. Are they going to cater to those kinds of biases?

      Bottom line, are they going to hire the best person for the job, or someone less competent but whose looks is less likely to bother someone? Shouldn’t it be about competence?

  20. “Chief Executive David Brown elucidates: “The majority of our patients are over 65, and they have expectations that cannot be ignored in terms of personal appearance.”

    Ya know, that’s also a ballsy assumption to make of senior citizens, too. Where the hell does THAT logic come from? Any senior I’ve ever met cares far more about how long their doctor (etc.) has been practicing than how much they weigh.

    I would be stunned if CA EVER passes an anti-weight discrimination law because our big business is movies and tv. I think there’d be a revolt from casting directors alone if they were suddenly forcd to see every fat girl in L.A. County for parts they’d prefer to directly offer to whoever the current carefully sculpted “it girl” is. It would be amazing…but stunning.

    • As someone who is veering dangerously close to age 65 herself and someone who has spent her whole adult life in healthcare, I can say one thing for certain…Darci, you are absolutely right when you question David Brown’s logic. Anybody 65+ in a hospital is just hoping their health care professional is smart enough to figure out how to get their medication schedule right. They don’t give a rat’s behind what that person looks like! They just hope they make it out of the hospital alive! Also, as one other poster pointed out, once you get to be a certain age, thinness is perceived differently. It tends to be associated more with serious illness and impending death. David Brown’s rationale for his discriminatory policies are nothing but BS.

      • After giving it some futher thought, it was pretty cowardly of them to throw the 65+ under the bus. Did they take a survey? I am approaching 65 and am from the baby boom generation. I believe we are not as prejudice as our parents and grandparents. I think it is BS. I believe the administration just threw that out there without really talking to the 65+ .

  21. I can remember several occasions when my now 89-year-old grandmother has been in the hospital and I go to visit her and she’s made some comment like “I’m so surprised at the large number of brown people working here, why aren’t they hiring white people?” or “And my doctor for this and such was Indian?! I wasn’t expecting that!”, or similarly ridiculous things, luckily this is just observational commentary and she never follows it up by suggesting these people can’t do their work, and I would be very appalled at a hospital that started to make staffing choices so as not to surprise or confuse people like her, some times the world does not exist to make everyone comfortable, and I suspect the number of patients they lose by hiring non-white, non-skinny, non-whatever employees is much less than the number they will lose by openly announcing their discriminatory policies, so sucks for them

  22. At my hospital (which is closely affiliated with a specific insurance company) they were giving out 100$ for completing “health assessments”, which included BMI along with bloodwork, smoking history, etc. I smelled the stink of corporate survelliance on it and I was right. Smokers and overweight people are now being threatened with having their premiums increased if they don’t quit smoking/lose weight. Their pregnancy program is crappy too, it steers women towards hospital birth with an OBGYN only, never mentioning that other options exist at all.

    • Yep, I could see it coming 30 years ago with the non smoking police. Now they are everywhere trying to make us all the same. Everyone gets the same, everyone has “rights” to the same, on and on. I hope this stops. What a mess this has made. Unfortunately I can see this becoming a political issue. When it does, it will divide us and they will win. Lets not allow this to happen. Stay strong together.

      • Marla,

        Thanks for the comment. I personally believe that smoking and obesity are two different things – notably because a smoker hurts everyone within breathing distance every time they light up as they increase each of those people’s risk of getting cancer while taking away those people’s right to be a non-smoker. Having just come back from NYC, I was astounded at how much smoke I had to breathe in just to get from my friend’s apartment to the subway. No such issue exists with obesity, even if the person participates in all of the stereotypically unhealthy obesity behaviors. My right to punch ends at the tip of someone else’s nose so while I have the right to eat a quadruple cheesburger and a fried twinkie, I don’t have the right to force other people to eat them because they happen to be walking by on the street.

        I also disagree with you that if this becomes a political issues “it will divide us and they will win”, I don’t believe it’s not as simple as an us vs. them, or one group wins and one group loses situation – I think it already has become political and we are all winning and losing some battles. I personally prefer to keep a positive view and just keep fighting the good fight.

        ~Ragen

        • Ragen,
          thank for your reply. I do agree with you on the health effects of smoking. I grew up with 2 parents that smoked and I hated it. I cant breath. I was referring the her comment that the “big bad businesses” are greedy wanting to tell us that fat people cant work and it is all about the medical center laying people off. It isnt about big greedy businesses. Its just an excuse to control people. You have said it many times that because they dont like how we look……and has nothing to do with our ability to do a good job. I hope I made it a little clearer. Im not that good with words like you are. LOL. I appreciate your blogs and they are great. My whole goal and passion on this subject is the same as yours, to take the stigma off of being fat and teaching people that we will not accept the rude and unfair treatment of being fat. Thanks again, Marla

          • Hi Marla,

            Gotcha, that makes total sense! Thanks for clarifying!

            ~Ragen

            ________________________________


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