“Beautyism” in the Workplace Alicia Mikell Human Resource Management Capstone HRM 599 Dr. Mary Ann Wangemann August 12, 2012 Abstract Beautyism in the workplace is discrimination in one of its most disguised forms. Employers get away with this form of discrimination everyday. Because someone is categorized as beautiful it doesn’t mean that they have all the knowledge they need to succeed on a job or neither does it validate that they are a better selection than the next person. An idea can be developed or an assumption made from the treatment that is given to the person who was hired because of beautyism.
What will be noticed in most cases it the special treatment that is given that is not given to the rest of the hard working employees of the organization. Sometimes it is not just one person that was hired because of beautyism. It can be many people that are hired because of the practice of beautyism. Men are chosen as a focus just as much as women because of beautyism practices. One thing is for sure beautisym certainly doesn’t discriminate. Beautyism in the workplace is discrimination in one of its most disguised forms.
Employers get away with this form of discrimination everyday. Because someone is categorized as beautiful it doesn’t mean that they have all the knowledge they need to succeed on a job or neither does it validate that they are a better selection than the next person. Beauty is skin deep and outward appearance is not enough to justify someone’s worth to a job. It will not be outwardly talked about exactly how a person has really gotten the job if they were hired because of beautyism. An idea can be developed or an assumption can be made from the treatment that is given to he person who was hired because of beautyism. What will be noticed in most cases is the special treatment that is given that is not given to the rest of the hard working employees of the organization. Sometimes it is not just one person that was hired because of beautyism. It can be many people that was hired because of the practice of beautyism. Even a whole office could have been hired because of beautyism to portray a certain professional look. Beautyism has been a practice in organizations for a very long time and may never cease to exist.
It is hard to detect but it does exist most times under disguise. Beautyism has a lot of discriminatory effects on hiring in the workplace. Is it right that an employer can determine what candidates should work for their organization based on what think is beauty? No! Beauty is very complex. It is what people define it to be. People certainly form their own ideas about how beauty is defined. There are so many definitions of beauty that truly beauty can never be defined by one definition alone. Employers create their own perceptions of what is beautiful.
Some employers discriminate against overweight people and may think that they are not beautiful. Although, overweight people can be smart, intelligent, and successful and possess beautiful faces, to an employer their weight may make them seem not beautiful enough to work for their organization. Beautyism is not just about how beautiful a face is but also what the employer’s perception of beauty is. There is all kind of perceptions of beauty that lie in the minds of some of these employers. One of the most devastating discriminatory effects of beautyism in the workplace occurs during promotion time.
It is discrimination against the person who deserved the promotion to not be chosen because they don’t fit certain specifications. Deserving people sometimes get overlooked for promotions because of the practices of beautyism. Is it fair? No! Can it really be proven? Sometimes no! Sometimes if anybody tries to prove that any type of beautyism is at play an employer can easily try to justify why they made the decision they did. Another instance of a damaging discriminatory effect because of beautyism is favoritism in the workplace.
Employers may tend to show favoritism to the men or women that they have put on pedestals. They have been put on pedestals because employers have defined them according to what perceptions have been developed about what beauty is according to them. Yes, I said men! Beautyism is not a practice that only focused on women. Men are chosen as a focus just as much as women because of beautyism practices. One thing is for sure beautisym certainly doesn’t discriminate. A human resource manager’s perspective would be one of concern for the organization.
They may worry about the costs of hiring and training a less qualified person. Training expenditures vary widely from company to company and large corporations are particularly likely to support all forms of employee development (O’toole & Lawler, 2006). Also, the human resource manager may raise the question about spending money on the wrong candidate. After all human resource managers are stewards over human resources of an organization. Money is a human resource that has to be handled appropriately most effectively.
In some cases the more inexperienced that a person is the more money an organization may need to train them to be efficient in their jobs. [Although], through learning we become able to do something we never were able to do (O’toole &Lawler, 2006). The human resource manager may think it not wise that the Chair chose to hire a less experienced person over a more qualified person. A human resource manager would think shouldn’t hiring practices reflect what is the best benefit for the organization and not the Chair.
Also, a human resource manager could think that what the Chair did was a form of discrimination. Human resource managers are avengers against discrimination in the workplace. They are the gate keepers of all knowledge of what constitutes discrimination in the workplace. This incident could be looked as a type of discrimination. There are many types of discrimination that exist in the workplace. Discrimination can be further distinguished into four “types” or legal theories: disparate treatment, adverse impact (also known as disparate impact), failure to reasonably accommodate, and retaliation (Walsh, 2010).
The type of discrimination that has been portrayed in this scenario clearly is an adverse impact. Walsh (2010) states: [An] Adverse impact is the disproportionate limitation or denial of employment opportunity for some protected class group that results from the use of a “neutral” requirement or practice that is not “job-related and consistent with business necessity. ” In adverse impact cases, the focus is on discriminatory effects rather than discriminatory intent. (p. 65) One difference between discriminatory intent and discriminatory effects is the intentional motive to discriminate.
A discriminatory intent is the intentional motive to discriminate and discriminatory affects occur because of the unsound judgments that were made that may not have been made with intent to outright discriminate. The Chair which is the hiring committee should choose the best candidate for the administrative assistant position based on qualifications. It should always be about what is best for the organization and not what is best for you and I. Having the likeability attribute is an important quality that a job candidate must possess because after hiring the candidate there is a professional relationship that has to built with them.
The more the person is likeable the easier it will be to build a good working relationship with them. It is a realistic thing to say that no one wants to work with someone that is not likeable even if they are more than qualified to fill the job position. Human resource managers are team builders. It is a great idea when there are likeable qualified people on the team it makes the team bond better when forming their working relationship. Werner & DeSimone (2012) state: Teams should not be formed just for the sake of having them.
Teams should have specific purpose and formed to accomplish goals that need the attention of a diverse group of people within an organization. Organizations should consider forming teams under conditions such as the following: • A specific goal (or set of goals) needs a multifaceted group of people with complementary talents • A specific project is best addressed by a cross-functional team of coworkers (pg 311) In order for the human resource managers to build these teams for their organization they must have the most qualified people on board.
Hiring practices can not be based on personal feelings and emotions but strictly on what is in the best interest of the organization. Having the most qualified people hired will help human resource managers build a team with complementary talents. Having the most qualified people hired will help human resource managers put together a successful cross-functional team of coworkers that can give the most beneficial service to their organization. There are many facets of beautyism. It is just not about having a beautiful face.
Individuals with beautiful faces are sometimes given unfair treatment during hiring processes. Whether it is disparate treatment, adverse impact, failure to reasonably accommodate, or retaliation attractive people are sometimes given unfair treatment during the hiring process. There are types of beautyism practices. The employer develops their perception of the perfect candidate. There are so many different scenarios that could be developed. There are neutral requirements that are developed by employers that are not necessarily protected class characteristics.
That is why these neutral requirements developed by employers only give discriminatory effects. Walsh (2012) states: Examples of neutral requirements or that have been shown to have adverse include the following: • A variety of written employment tests • Height and weight requirements • Language requirements • Physical strength tests • Military Service, type of discharge • Limitation of employment based on arrests and convictions • Educational requirements (p. 84)
Some other examples are hiring women with nice hour glass shape figures only, women with long blond hair, people who don’t smoke, or only people who have beautiful faces according to the employer’s standards of beauty. Every employer’s practice of beautyism is not always the same. Employers who are guilty of practicing beautyism will create their own standards they follow. Organizations deserve the very best qualified individuals to fill their vacant job positions. When the Chair overlooked the best most qualified individual they were being selfish.
The administrative assistant position was for the College of Business Administration. The administrative assistant that fills the position would probably be utilized not only by the professors of the college but the students too. An administrative assistant working for a college in such a demanding role needs to be highly qualified. The Chair not hiring the more qualified person is setting the college up for disaster. Not every member of the Chair has to agree on a candidate or even like them but them must all make a vote on who is the best qualified not the best liked to hire for the open position.
Favoritism is one workplace practice that has potential discriminatory effects on hiring in the workplace. This is certainly a case of favor. The Chair is overlooking a more highly qualified candidate in favor of a candidate who personally met with the Chair. References O’toole, James & Lawler, Edward E. (2006) The New American Workplace. New York, New York: Palgrave Macmillan Walsh, David J. (2012). Employment Law for Human Resource Practice (3rd ed. ). Mason, OH: Cenage Learning Werner & DeSimone (2012). Human Resource Development (6th ed. ). Mason, OH: Cenage Learning References