Discrimination against the obese, or "weight bias."  Is it illegal?  Only in Michigan, and about six cities in the US.


Does it exist?   Most definitely, with some sources claiming that employees who are overweight to severely obese are 12 to 100 times more likely to suffer job discrimination.     


Have any doubts?  The Texas Tribune reports that Citizen’s Medical Center in Victoria, Texas has instituted a policy that requires potential employees to have a body mass index (or “BMI”) of less than 35.  This means that a person who is 5’5" must be under 210 pounds, and a person who is 5’10" must be under 245 pounds.  The policy states that an employee’s body “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.


As we noted in our blog of February 11, 2011, the EEOC has taken the position that weight discrimination may violate the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"), if, for example, the employee’s weight substantially impairs a major life activity.  Moreover, it may be coupled with a condition caused or exacerbated by obesity, such as hypertension or diabetes, which have been held to be disabling.    


But this is Texas, where everything is expected to be bigger, except employees.