Is Lookism Illegal? Appearance Discrimination at Work
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Understand what an employer may lawfully require regarding employees' appearance.Anyone who says that appearance doesn't matter in the job market and in the workplace hasn't kept up on their reading. Studies have repeatedly linked attractiveness to job success, in some industries much more so than others. However, lookism, (treating someone differently based on his/her appearance), can be much more than just a benchmark for success. it can impact morale in the workplace and/or lead to discrimination or harassment claims. Indeed, in February 2019, New York City amended its legal enforcement guidance to hold that appearance and grooming policies that ban natural hair or hairstyle, which the commission states disproportionately impact black New Yorkers, are unlawful discriminatory treatment under the NYC Human Rights Law. This material will discuss how lookism, your policies, practices and statements, can affect the workplace and how it may put your organization at risk, while also identifying concrete steps that your organization can take to reduce that risk.
AuthorsAmber M. Spataro, Littler Mendelson P.C.
Is Lookism a Thing? and If so, Is It Illegal?
• What Do the Studies Say?
• Recent Lawsuits and Settlements
• Laws Which Touch on Appearance Discrimination
The Connection Between Lookism and Discrimination
• Sex Discrimination
• Disability Discrimination
• Religious Discrimination
What Can Employers Do to Avoid Lookism Claims?
• What Would an Anti-Lookism Policy Look Like?
• How Do You Train Employees to Avoid Stereotyping Based on Appearance?