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#64166 - 04/01/06 05:37 AM Fitness for hiring  
Trumpy  Offline

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,223
SI,New Zealand
Does a workers fitness come into the equation, when they first start?.
I started out as a boy with the local PoCo here and at the time had come from being a career Fire-fighter and a Cricket-player.
I've always maintained a certain degree of fitness.
Climbing ladders was my favourite thing.
It seems strange these days, employers expect the most from thier employees, but most never encourage any sort of exercise or stretching or even weight training.
In the New Zealand Fire Service, we were required to do at least 1 hour of weights and exercise before going out on drills.
Now I'm not suggesting for a second that EC's take that up, fire-fighting is a full on job,
but have you ever thought about the fitness of your employees?.
Or yourself as an employee?. [Linked Image]

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#64167 - 04/01/06 05:41 AM Re: Fitness for hiring  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA

Of course not, that would be discrimination.


Everything is considered.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#64168 - 04/01/06 06:35 AM Re: Fitness for hiring  
winnie  Offline
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 649
boston, ma

Intentional discrimination on the basis of real, measurable, ability difference is permitted.

In the US, there are specific anti-discrimination laws which say that you cannot discriminate on certain explicit basis. For example, it is illegal to hire only whites and ignore qualified black applicants. But outside of the specific 'protected classes', you most certainly can discriminate on just about any basis. In most of the US, for example, if you simply don't like gay people, you can simply refuse to hire gays, with no legal penalty. (Massachusetts does make it illegal to discriminate on sexual orientation.) Don't like that someone doesn't exercise? Don't hire them.

Interpretation by the courts has resulted in some strange rules that are hard to reconcile with common sense; which goes back to the original question; you can require employees to be strong enough to lift a particular load, unless they are so weak as to be 'disabled', at which point the law requires you to 'provide reasonable accommodation'. If you selectively hire 'healthy looking' people, you are probably okay discrimination wise, except that someone who is 'morbidly obese' may be considered disabled by the courts, thus making not hiring them illegal discrimination.

Note: I am not a lawyer, and the above is just a lay reading. And while it is probably legal to discriminate against lawyers, its probably a bad idea.

Massachusetts list of 'protected classes' for various situations:


#64169 - 04/01/06 11:49 AM Re: Fitness for hiring  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
As I see it, the trade itself will make you maintain a certain minimal level of fitness. OK, I'm in no shape for the Olympics- and, if you said I had a "body like a god" you'ld have to be thinking of Budda! Nonetheless, with attic crawls, ladder climbs, pipe caries, and occasional shovel work, one can't get completely out of condition!

The new guys get a lot of "grunt work." This work will certainly build them up to the necessary fitness level.

#64170 - 04/01/06 04:02 PM Re: Fitness for hiring  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Jon I am not a lawyer either but IMO you are on shaky ground if you do not hire someone because they are out of shape and in a real bad position if you fire them for becoming out of shape.

From the web site you linked to.

Job Applicants
Massachusetts employers are prohibited from discriminating against prospective employees based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, criminal record, handicap (disability), mental illness, retaliation, sexual harassment, sexual orientation, and genetics. In addition, employers have an affirmative responsibility to provide maternity leave to biological and adoptive parents.

We have had people go out on disability because they where to FAT.

The SSA (Social Security Admin.) considers obesity a medically determinable impairment.

In general our ladders are good for 300 Lbs capacity. Once a person exceeds that we can't make them climb the ladder, now that person is not much use to us but we can not fire them either.

A lot of this may be different for small shops but we are a very large shop with deep pockets that lawyers would just love a chance to empty.

To each their own but the company I work for treads very lightly with issues like this.


Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#64171 - 04/01/06 10:33 PM Re: Fitness for hiring  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,140
Bob, a reasonable accomedation might be to buy a 400 lb rated ladder but if the job requires climbing it fatso better be able to drag his butt up there.
The next accomedation might be an office job, but only if that was available and at that pay scale.

At least that is how it works in right to work states. In the "organized" world things may be different.

Greg Fretwell

#64172 - 04/02/06 02:03 AM Re: Fitness for hiring  
Sixer  Offline
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 265
The company that I used to work for years ago had laid off about 400 employees (they had over 2000 total). One of them was a very obese guy. When it came time for re-hire, they decided to put everyone through a medical and performance test. The obese guy never was hired back. He filed a complaint to the Human Rights Board, and won. The company had no choice but to re-hire him, because his previous work records proved he was able to do the job.

As a small contractor with a couple of employees, I can't afford to carry someone who isn't able to pull his weight (excuse the pun). Why should an employer be expected to change someone's job description because of obesity, either because of a medical condition or because they aren't able to lay off the donuts? Bottom line is that if you can't do the job you were hired to do, regardless of the reason (obesity, arthritis, drug or alcohol problems, or any other medical conditions), then you should have no recourse if you get the axe. These problems aren't the employer's fault.


"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"

#64173 - 04/02/06 06:41 AM Re: Fitness for hiring  
iwire  Offline
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,391
North Attleboro, MA USA
Bob, a reasonable accomedation might be to buy a 400 lb rated ladder

I believe they looked for some and did not have any luck.

Just so you all know I also agree with Sixer that it is not the companies fault when someone lets themselves go.

I am just stating what the reality is for the large company I work for.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#64174 - 04/02/06 12:11 PM Re: Fitness for hiring  
Active 1  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 687
Grayslake IL, USA
In collage we were told if it was a bonafied job nessesity to meet a certain criteria then you could decline a disabled person.

Definitions of Bonafide on the Web:
In law, good faith (in Latin, bona fides) is the mental and moral state of honest, even if objectively unfounded, conviction as to the truth or falsehood of a proposition or body of opinion, or as to the rectitude or depravity of a line of conduct.

American disabilities act of 1990:
(5) Employer.--

(A) In general.--The term "employer" means a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has 15 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such person, except that, for two years following the effective date of this title, an employer means a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has 25 or more employees for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding year, and any agent of such person.

(10) Undue hardship.--

(A) In general.--The term "undue hardship" means an action requiring significant difficulty or expense, when considered in light of the factors set forth in subparagraph (B).

(B) Factors to be considered.--In determining whether an accommodation would impose an undue hardship on a covered entity, factors to be considered include--

(i) the nature and cost of the accommodation needed under this Act;

(ii) the overall financial resources of the facility or facilities involved in the provision of the reasonable accommodation; the number of persons employed at such facility; the effect on expenses and resources, or the impact otherwise of such accommodation upon the operation of the facility;

(iii) the overall financial resources of the covered entity; the overall size of the business of a covered entity with respect to the number of its employees; the number, type, and location of its facilities; and

(iv) the type of operation or operations of the covered entity, including the composition, structure, and functions of the workforce of such entity; the geographic separateness, administrative, or fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question to the covered entity.

(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual;

(8) Qualified individual with a disability.--The term "qualified individual with a disability" means an individual with a disability who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the employment position that such individual holds or desires. For the purposes of this title, consideration shall be given to the employer's judgment as to what functions of a job are essential, and if an employer has prepared a written description before advertising or interviewing applicants for the job, this description shall be considered evidence of the essential functions of the job.

(9) Reasonable accommodation.--The term "reasonable accommodation" may include--

(A) making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities; and

(B) job restructuring, part-time or modified work schedules, reassignment to a vacant position, acquisition or modification of equipment or devices, appropriate adjustment or modifications of examinations, training materials or policies, the provision of qualified readers or interpreters, and other similar accommodations for individuals with disabilities.

IMO it would be an undue hardship if not possable at all to make a customers location accesable in the areas we work for many disabilities. Where if you had a person in your office all day answering the phone then you should accomidate them.

Can you not hire an electrician if he had no arms? I say you can say sorry it is a bonafied job requirement to have arms and fingures.

I think the question here is a person in poor shape or health disabled and do we need to accomidate their needs? I say no again.

My understanding is you need to set key peramiters for each job position. Something like:
1. Must be able to lift or pull 75 lbs using both arms and 40 lbs with one arm.
2. Must be able to climb stairs and ladders for the length of the work day.
3. Must be able to distinguish colors.
4. Must be able to hear and comunicate clearly
5. Must be able to crawl in XX size space.
6. Able to work at heights xx above ground.
7. Must have a valid drivers license.

If they don't meet your peramiters then your not discrimiting against them for being disabled. They just are not physicaly able to do the job. You can not put elevators on each job because they can not climb stairs all day.

#64175 - 04/03/06 05:28 AM Re: Fitness for hiring  
Trumpy  Offline

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,223
SI,New Zealand
Sorry if I gave the wrong impression with my original post, but this was not what I had in mind!.
Discrimination?, that is a term here for the current ratings of fuses.
I'm not looking to sound naive, but perhaps I shouldn't have bought this up in the first place.
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