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Date October 4, 2012!!
In The News....
Looking Good May Not Be Good
There is a hidden area of discrimination that is coming into the light of scrutiny. This type of workplace discrimination has probably always been around. However, it has evolved and grown with the changing attitude and importance placed on image and appearance. This discrimination has different names that add up to the same thing.
- beauty bias
- appearance discrimination
- changing looks discrimination
- physical appearance discrimination
- pretty discrimination
Beauty bias is a phrase first coined by Stanford Law professor Deborah Rhodes. According to Professor Rhodes beauty bias is defined as "giving preferential treatment to employees who look a certain way." Here are some intriguing research results.....
- "Homely" men paid 9% less than men described as "handsome"
- "Handsome" men paid around 5% more than every one else.
- Short men earn about $3,000 less than taller co-workers.
- 57% of hiring managers view "homely" qualified applicants as less likely to get hired.
- 50% of hiring managers say devote the amount of same time to "looking good" as developing good resumes.
- 61% of hiring managers (mostly men) say female applicants figure focused wardrobe is advantageous.
A Newsweek magazine article surveyed the top nine characteristics hiring managers look for in an employee. In the order of importance appearance came in 3rd behind experience (1st) and confidence (2nd). On the flip side on the beauty discrimination coin women who are considered "pretty" may be discriminated against from holding positions considered "masculine". This a growing issue in the workplace.
There are no federal laws against "Beauty Bias" or "Appearance-Based Discrimination"...yet. But this issue could trigger a hostile work environment lawsuit. According to the California Employer Daily the states of California and Michigan are at the forefront with "express laws against appearance discrimination. These ordinances ban employment discrimination based on all ordinary categories and add a prohibition against discrimination based on “height, weight, or physical characteristics.”
Of course I will keep you up to date on this ;0)
Let's get to it!
Think You Can't Be Wrongfully Terminated!
"Hi honey why are home so early?" In that embarrassing moment you say, "I just got fired". Anyone that's experienced losing a job knows how that feels. I've been there myself. Getting fired or laid off is not something that most employees look forward to or expect, especially when believing they've done nothing to deserve it. As an employee rights advocate one of the most frustrating things for me has been to get employees to realize wrongful termination can and will happen to YOU.
I've gotten numerous emails over the years from people who didn't think getting fired could or would happen to them. When it does happen they realize then it's too late to prepare for it. I don't care how "good" your management is or how "secure" you are in your employment, the specter of being wrongfully terminated is always there. Illegal termination may occur if your are....
- terminated in violation of an implied contract
- terminated in violation of an employment contract
- fired as pretext of sexual harassment
- fired in connection with a salary dispute
- fired as retaliation for filing a complaint against the employer
- terminated in violation of a union contract or collective bargaining agreement
- terminated in violation of public policy
- fired in violation of "good faith or "fair dealing" policy
- terminated in violation of state or federal workplace discrimination laws
Constructive discharge is where your boss creates a work environment that becomes intolerable and you just quit. If any of the above applies to you or someone you care about, the following will help if you need to talk to an employee rights attorney. If you've been a Basic Employee Rights eNewsletter subscriber for a while you know I always preach these three words...
The first order of business for anyone BEFORE seeking employment should be to Learn Your Basic Employee Rights! The second comes as a result of the first, documenting your employment experience. Again, never assume you can't be a victim of wrongful termination. Even if your employment appears to be peaceful and stable, view documenting as a part of your job description. I'm not saying be paranoid or record any and everything all day everyday. However, the following provides a guideline for what to document and when. Create a journal or dairy that gives....
- dates of important employment occurrences
- dates of problems affecting your employment
- dates of anything your boss did to oppose your investigation or complaint concerning your rights
Let's break it down into even greater detail, document a.....
- Copy of the original job ad (description) from on or offline media
- Summary of the job interview
- Copy of Social Media background check consent forms and results
- Pre-employment screen, traditional background check and drug test results
- Summary of post interview job offer
- Copy of your employee handbook
- copy of employment contract (if any)
- Copy of job description on file in HR
- Copy of your resume
- Copy of all payroll records
- Copy of all leave records, FMLA, etc.
- Copy of medical records
- Copy of all workers' comp and accident reports
- Copy of all job evaluations
- Copy of any offered or denied training
- Copy of promotions or explanation of denial
- Copy of unemployment compensation hearing or records
The above list is not exhaustive but it provides enough to help you develop other documentation as necessary. Here are some other areas of documentation that may be industry specific. For example, I worked as an Information Technology professional for 14 years in local government. Government employers will usually have an internal appeal process for adverse action taken against employees.
Being already prepared with documentation I was successful in proving my termination was wrongful. Thus, I was reinstated to my job. Oh...by the way I had a court reporter document the entire appeal board hearing. If your organization has any internal appeal or grievance process make sure you have the means to document that as well. If the employer is resistant, that's a red flag in terms of them acting in "good faith"....which you also document ;o)
Make sure you have accurate names and addresses of current and former employees who may be potential witnesses. Especially, if they had similar problems. Be careful about exposing your documentation efforts to your co-workers. Keep a small notepad handy that fits in your pocket or purse. Write down any issues as close to the time they happened. DO NOT use the employers Word application, internet, email, phone or memo systems for your documentation efforts. Also, as it relates to social media check to see what anyone working for your employer may be posting on Twitter, Facebook, etc. about you!
Wait until you get home or use a friend or family members pc or laptop. Make sure you also save and make several copies of that precious document. Save a copy to your hard drive and another to an external flash drive which should be stored in a secure place. If and when you need to consult an attorney he/she will be amazed and thank you for making their job easier.
For limited time you can grab your copy of....
"What Every Target Of Workplace Bullying Needs To Know"
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Written by Yancey Thomas Jr.
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