Attractiveness Discrimination: Yay or Nay? 

Please read each passage below, I need a few sentences in response to each part. Please use at least one source. Please cite the reference(s) properly. Part 1 and 2 can be on the same word document, however, please keep them separate by labeling them. 

Part 1

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Attractiveness Discrimination: Yay or Nay?

No, employers should not be allowed to discriminate based on attractiveness. However, based on California Fair Employment laws, it is not illegal for a company to hire based on physical appearance (cmgroup, 2018). What makes this question difficult is that restaurants like Hooters have argued and settled lawsuits based on bona fide occupational qualification which says that women they hire are essential to the business operations (The Strange Loophole That Lets Hooters Hire Only Female Servers, 2015).

Don’t Say Anything and No One Will Look

This is a difficult question because restaurants known colloquially as “breastaurants” have found a grey area in written law where a court of law won’t rule that they commit discriminating hiring practices. However, they need to settle these cases to make them go away. Not to mention, servers who accept a job accept company policy, if the policies aren’t illegal, and to this point, no court of law has said they are, they aren’t breaking the law.

Change of Mind?

I still believe companies should not be allowed to discriminate based on attractiveness. While the written laws may not be equipped to handle this situation, the “laws of personal spending” allow consumers to make decisions about where they patronize. As much as I believe this is bad faith practice, they are legally allowed to do what they are doing.

References

cmgroup. (2018, October 25). WORKPLACE LAW – Hiring Based on Appearance. Fenton & Keller, Attorneys at Law. https://fentonkeller.com/fk-articles/hiring-based-on-appearance/ (Links to an external site.)

The strange loophole that lets Hooters hire only female servers. (2015, December 11). Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/how-can-hooters-hire-only-women-2015-9?international=true&r=US&IR=T (Links to an external site.)

Part 2

Employers should be permitted to discriminate based upon attractiveness if appearance is related or essential to the goal of the business or position.  According to Smith (2017), “Appearance standards may be considered a bonafide occupational qualification when they are necessary for the operation of an employer’s business in limited circumstances, such as for a movie part or a fashion show” (para. 9).  Models, lobbyists, event hostesses, cheerleaders, and personal trainers are other professions that consider attractiveness an asset since appearance is a desirable characteristic to promote their business or its brand.  For example, a company like Hooters has established a pattern of hiring only women that portray a specific appearance that their customers expect to see.

A central issue to discrimination based upon attractiveness is a subjective interpretation of someone’s aesthetics. Without a universal standard or structure of social expectations, proving discrimination based upon attractiveness can be a daunting task in a court of law.  Employers are given discretion as long as they can offer a reasonable business purpose.  To a certain extent, companies already use policies to establish an appearance standard that reflects their expectation of a clean, professional image, including hairstyle and clothing choices like business casual attire.  Companies need to be cautious about promoting a corporate image or preferred appearance of their employees that have no bearing on their ability to perform the essential functions of a job (Jones, 2020).  Courts have been deferential to employers if they can offer a reasonable business purpose.

References

Jones, J. (2020). Appearance discrimination: Is it illegal? https://www.ucbjournal.com/appearance-discrimination-is-it-illegal/ (Links to an external site.)

Smith, A. (2017). Ugly policy alleged at NBC: Only beautiful people need apply. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/nbc-good-looking-apply.aspx (Links to an external site.)

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