Discrimination Based on Appearance in the Workplace

December 14, 2011
L. Robert Kohls stated in his article “The Values Americans Live By” that the belief of equality “is translated into the assertion that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed in life.” I do not agree that evidently all individuals in the United States have an equal opportunity to succeed especially when it comes to a persons appearance. Companies around the United States are denying a person work based on how the appear, although in most cases it cannot be proved. A person may be denied a job opportunity due to the way the are dressed, the piercings the have, their weight or how there makeup may be applied. A way a person appears, may or may not be by choice, but no matter the reason, an individual should not be discriminated against. A person who is not as well looking as other employees may earn less, or have a more difficult job. It is possible this person may not even be hired. Americans do not have equal opportunity when it comes to being employed, no longer is it only based on qualifications, now appearance plays an important role.

“Equal Employment Opportunity Comission (EEOC) officials, lawyers and operators agree that many hospitality employers seem to consider looks and attitude more important then skills or qualifications.” (Prewitt) In this article named “Critics say ‘good looks’ win job advantages while others shut out” it makes the point that until recently, a person could do little to fight their employer who seemed to fire, or refuse to hire someone based on appearances. According to the EEOC discrimination based on appearance is becoming more prevalent in the airline industry, and the hospitality field. There is many laws prohibiting discrimination in a work place such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967. This law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. There is no laws protecting a person from being discriminated on due to how the choose to present themselves or how they look naturally.

When a person glances at someone, it is human nature to instantly judge someone based on there looks. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967 prohibits employers from discriminating against men and women based on there sex. (Mapes-Riordan) This act does not protect people from being discriminated on because of there appearance. As of today, there is still no law against it.
In the very high-end home-furnishings showroom I own, we eliminated a great sales candidate because she had piercings in her nose and tongue. That decision does not fit with my personal beliefs, but i felt others would prejudge her and therefore our showroom. Was I wrong to eliminate her for this reason? Should I have told her why? (Aziz)
Aziz states that this does not fit her personal beliefs, but in a way she is this statement proves that people are not being hired due to there qualifications. How a person looks should not influence an employers decision to hire them or not. When hiring it should be based solely on experience, qualifications andknowledge of the job.

In the Article “Why Appearance May Be Your Next Discrimination Law Challenge” it talks about a case in California known as the Yanowitz v. L’Oreal USA inc. This case involves a female worker who was told to replace a worker that was “not good looking enough” to work a sales counter. This employee was fired when she refused to replace the worker as ordered. This is a case of discrimination based on appearance, although this employee was not being discriminated against, she is being asked to replace someone that is. This is another case that proves discrimination in the workplace is a very important issue. This article goes on to ask if obesity is another appearance issue that can be questioned. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, morbidly obese people can be considered disabled. Companies can not discriminated against people who are obese due to this and make the decision not to hire them.

In an Article by Stephanie Armour, titled “Your Appearance, good, bad, can affect size of your pay check” a case is mention in which a women is denied a job opportunity because of her weight. The companies required their exercise instructors to “appear fit”, and at her weight of 240 she did not meet this criteria. Looks can either help you in your career, or hurt you now a days. There should be laws made to help protect the people that this happens to. Although it is often hard to prove a case of discrimination based on looks, it is hard to see past it. Many companies deny discriminating due to an appearance but statistics show that people who look better get paid higher.

“The Values Americans Live By” that the belief of equality “is translated into the assertion that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed in life.” L. Robert Kohls. When Kohls wrote this article, I do not think looks matter half as much as much as they in society today. Discrimination in the workplace will continue unless laws are passed to stop it. There is more then enough evidence that is happening. Discrimination based on appearance should be stopped before it becomes more out of hand. Employees around the world, and the United States are not having an equal opportunity to succeed because of problems like this. No longer in the United States is it solely based on qualifications, it is now also based on appearance.

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warner said...
Dec. 5, 2013 at 9:22 am
Hey can you send me a link to the interview where you got the qute from Aziz on turning down a qualified worker because of their piercings. I could really use that information, thanks!
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