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AM Update: Discrimination Against Overweight Job Applicants, STAAR Test Begins, Baylor's NCAA Bow

A Victoria hospital is under fire for its ban on overweight applicants.
Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune
A Victoria hospital is under fire for its ban on overweight applicants.

Victoria Hospital Bans Overweight Job Applicants

KUT News' reporting partner, The Texas Tribune, reports a hospital in Victoria, Texas, bans job applicants from employment for being too overweight.

The Citizens Medical Center policy, instituted a little more than a year ago, requires potential employees to have a body mass index of less than 35 — which is 210 pounds for someone who is 5-foot-5, and 245 pounds for someone who is 5-foot-10. It states that an employee’s physique “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.

The hospital claims its policy is legal. Only the state of Michigan and six U.S. cities — including San Francisco and Washington D.C. — ban discrimination against the overweight in hiring.

Citizens Medical Center’s written policy doesn’t indicate that paying for the health insurance of obese workers is too expensive — the reason some companies have been able to ban workers who use tobacco — or suggest that obese employees are unable to do their jobs. Mostly, it references physical appearance, and puts overweight applicants in the same category as those with visible tattoos or facial piercings.

Some people believe the hospital's policy puts it at risk of litigation. People with disabilities are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and in some court rulings, obesity has been interpreted as a disability. Citizen's Medical Center is already battling a discrimination lawsuit filed by doctors of Indian descent.

STAAR Test Begins

Students across Texas will take the new State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) standardized tests this week. STAAR is replacing the TAKS tests.

The Texas Education Agency says the STAAR performance standards will be set in October of this year. Starting next year, STAAR scores will account for 15 percent of high school students’ grades.

According to a TEA testing schedule, today students will take the English Writing tests. Tomorrow it's Math, Reading, and Writing. The tests continue through Thursday.

Baylor's NCAA Basketball Tournament Results

The Baylor Bears'NCAA Basketball Final Four hopes were dashed Sunday as the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats beat them 82-70, says ESPN. The Bears – who were the only Texas team remaining in the NCAA tournament – were led by senior forward Quincy Acy who scored 22 points and junior guard Pierre Jackson who added another 21 points for the Bears. But despite their efforts, Baylor was unable to rout the Wildcats. Kentucky led 42 – 22 at the half and Baylor was unable to close the gap, trailing by at least 10 points the rest of the game.

While the Baylor’s men’s basketball team is out, the women’s team is still running strong.

The Lady Bears defeated 4th-ranked Georgia Tech 83-68, says ESPN. The Lady Bears were led by All-American star Brittney Griner. Griner ended the night with 35 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. Baylor advances to the Elite Eight and will play the Tennessee Lady Volunteers. The game is tonight at 6 p.m.

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