Is Appearance Discrimination Legal?

There is no denying that appearance does make a difference in the workplace. A recent study conducted by Italian researchers found that resumes that included a headshot of an attractive person were much more successful in getting responses than ones that did not. Certain employers may have judgements against people for having tattoos or their weight and body type. Although it is unfair to discriminate based on appearance, it is not currently illegal. However, appearance discrimination can lead to other violations that are.

Although asking for someone with a certain appearance is legal if it applies to the nature of the job duties, the employer runs a risk of committing illegal types of discrimination by factoring appearance into their hiring decisions. Did the employer ask you questions about your race, religion, or sexual orientation?

How Do You Know If Appearance Discrimination Went Too Far?

  • Racial discrimination: If you are harassed or feel you’ve been looked over for promotions because of your race, you may have a valid claim for race discrimination.
  • Age discrimination: Have you been working for a company for a long time, have acquired skills to move up, and noticed that younger, less-experienced workers are consistently being picked ahead of you. Ask some other seasoned workers if they have experienced this as well.
  • Company Culture: Are you noticing trends about who is at the top of your company, or noticing that certain groups of a certain appearance are being withheld from growing within the company? If you have, other employees most likely have noticed as well. Talk to some of your other employees to gain evidence which will strengthen your claim.

Employers do have to right to factor appearance into their employment decisions. However, appearance discrimination can lead to workplace discrimination acts that are illegal. Contact a Los Angeles labor law attorney to determine whether your employer has crossed the line.

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