We know about many types of discrimination that are illegal under California employment law, but what about appearance discrimination? Is it actually prohibited by law to discriminate against an employee or job applicant based on his or her appearance?
“To some extent, it is,” says our Pasadena Workplace discrimination attorney from The Rager Law Firm.
Appearance is something we are born with, and, often, something that we have absolutely no control over.
Multiple studies show that appearance makes a huge difference in the workplace and hiring process. Resumes with a headshot of a beautiful woman or handsome man are more likely to get responses compared to those that feature average-looking people. Similarly, attractive persons are more likely to get a promotion, according to studies.
This means that some employers have a bias against certain people based on the size of their nose, body type, weight, tattoos, hairstyle, height, and other characteristics. And while California employment law protects employees in Los Angeles, Riverside, Pasadena and other cities across the state from a wide range of discriminations in the workplace, appearance discrimination is not currently illegal.
Our best workplace discrimination lawyers in California explain that while discriminating against employees based their appearance is unfair and can lead to similar negative consequences for the worker who is being discriminated as the illegal types of discrimination (emotional distress, low self-esteem, hostile work environment, etc.), many employees all across the state are frustrated to find out that in most situations, their hands are tied and they cannot take legal action against the employer.
But in no way does it mean that all forms of appearance discrimination are tolerated by the law. Under the current law in California, hiring people with a certain appearance is not prohibited by law as long as this requirement can be justified by the job duties and the type of appearance that is being discriminated against is not one of the protected characteristics such as skin color, race, age, disability, medical condition, sexual orientation and other.
If you notice signs of any of the above-mentioned types of appearance discrimination, do not hesitate to speak to our Pasadena workplace discrimination attorney at The Rager Law Firm and schedule a free consultation. While appearance discrimination in itself is not currently illegal in California, some forms of it are.
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