Appearance Discrimination in Employment

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Appearance discrimination in employment: Legal and ethical implications of “lookism” and “lookphobia”

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DOI (Permanent URL): 10.1108/02610151311305632
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Citigroup Inc (2010) by a former Citibank employee claiming that she was terminated for being “too hot” according to her filed complaint. Following this introduction section, the authors first provide some background material as to societal norms concerning “attractiveness,” the existence of appearance discrimination in society, especially regarding employment, and the presence of a certain “preferring the pretty” norm, and consequently discrimination against less attractive people.
The next section of the paper is the legal environment, wherein the authors initially discuss the fundamental employment law doctrine in the USA – employment at-will; and then the authors examine important civil rights laws – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – and show how these laws relate to appearance discrimination in the narrow sense examined herein of “attractiveness.” In the analysis of Title VII, the authors define and differentiate, a “disparate treatment” discrimination case from a “disparate impact” one. The authors also explain two important defenses to Title VII civil rights lawsuits – the “business necessity” test and the bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) doctrine – and demonstrate
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