Under the law, you can't be fired because of your race, religion, national origin, disability, or gender. However, can you be fired just because your employer doesn't like your looks? The answer may surprise you.
Here are several reasons that your employer can fire you based on your appearance alone:
1.) Your boss finds you to be too attractive - or his or her spouse does.
A court in Iowa upheld the firing of a dental assistant because her boss found her to be too attractive and felt that he might not be able to control his sexual desires for her. Similarly, a business owner was allowed to fire an employee after the owner's wife decided the employee was a threat to their marriage.
Keep in mind, however, that if your boss is sexually inappropriate toward you before you are fired, you may have a case for sexual harassment.
2.) Your employer finds your teeth unattractive.
Studies have shown that people who suffer from obvious dental issues miss out on job offers and promotions. A lot of employers consciously seek to present a certain image to their customers or clients and don't want someone with yellowed or missing teeth representing them.
You may or may not be able to fight this sort of discrimination. Generally, employers can fire people because they don't project the "right image" for the company. However, if your dental problems are the result of an underlying medical disability, like diabetes or an autoimmune disorder, you could have a successful case for discrimination.
3.) You're too fat or too thin for your employer's tastes.
In all but a handful of cities and one state (Michigan), you can legally be fired for being overweight. Research shows that as many as 93% of employers discriminate against overweight employees. For the most part, the practice is legal unless your weight is actually so extreme that it qualifies as a disability.
If your weight is actually disabling, you have a right to seek protection against discrimination and can even ask your employer for reasonable accommodations that will allow you to keep working, such as a special chair to sit on while you work.
You can also get fired for being too thin. Generally speaking, this usually occurs in jobs where a small size is seen as a disadvantage. For example, a slender prison guard is likely to be far less intimidating than his or her beefier counterparts.
The legality of it could be questionable, especially if a "too thin" standard in a workplace affects women more than men. In that case, it could be considered gender discrimination.
If you've been fired or denied a promotion based solely on your looks, consider contacting an attorney from a firm like Bayer Jerger & Underwood to discuss the situation. Because each situation is unique, its impossible to tell if your employer violated the law without a careful discussion of the facts in your particular situation.
Hello, I'm Phillip Kerr and I just love the legal profession and courtroom drama. Have you ever watched judge shows on TV? I know that these shows are not an accurate representation of the courtroom, but there is something you may have noticed. Some individuals come into the courtroom well-dressed, articulate, respectful and with the knowledge and documents necessary to support a case, while others come unprepared, slovenly dressed and appear as if they do not have a care in the world. How you present yourself and the knowledge that you have of the law will have an impact on how you are treated, even if you have legal representation. This blog is designed to assist those who are going to trial in doing just that.