Fit or fat? Should companies have policy against hiring obese people?

Citizens Medical Center's recently reversed its policy on using body mass index as an employment standard, raising questions about whether companies should have such bans.

According to the hospital's policy and procedure manual effective May 11, 2009, "An employee's appearance should fit with a representational image or specific mental projection of a healthcare professional. This includes an appearance free from distraction for our patients, i.e., cleanliness, neat grooming, body graphics or piercing, and excessive weight.

"Employees of Citizens Medical Center should maintain a physical appearance within 25 percent of body weight charts attached to this policy. Guidelines for this standard are also represented by the Body Mass Index (BMI), also attached to this policy. Applicants that do not meet these requirements (BMI less than 35) will not be eligible for employment."

After media reports about the policy, Citizens discontinued use of BMI as an employment criteria earlier this month.

Should companies use BMI as a criteria for employment? Please see today's pro and con stories for both sides of the question.