The business perspective
Hiring for attractiveness is seen from very different stand points depending on which point of view you are looking at the issue from. My last proposal discussed the Government perspective and how while there isn’t a current policy in place for attractiveness discrimination in hiring, the EEOC has investigated many companies because of their said hiring only the attractive but a policy still isn’t in place. For this proposal I will look at the idea through a business perspective.
As one may think, businesses want to be able to hire whoever they think is best fit for the job. If having attractive employees brings in more customers, than the company will defend this practice. In order to look closer into why this is, and why businesses think it is ethical, I will look at a Newsweek article I came across detailing the results of a poll of hiring managers, and two different businesses who think this is ethical.
A 2010 Newsweek article, “How Much Is Beauty Worth at Work?” polled hiring employers about hiring attractive or unattractive employees. “61% of managers commissioned for a Newsweek survey said it’s advantageous for a woman to show off her figure in the workplace…sixty-four percent of hiring managers said they believe companies should be allowed to hire people based on looks—when a job requires an employee to be the “face” of a company at retail stores or in sales. This means it would be considered ‘okay’ for companies like Hooters, or Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc. These employees are considered somewhat of a marketing aspect or the ‘face’ that customers see when shopping or eating, and therefore associate these faces with the company. The managers said even though most of the public would want to make it illegal, if good looks are necessary to put a face, or reputation on the company, then hiring for attractive employees should be permissible.
There are many cases of companies defending their practices, which shows me that they are very aware they only hire attractive employees that fits a certain mold. One retail company that has been investigated by the EEOC is Abercrombie & Fitch. While there is much material about this controversial CEO, Mike Jeffries, I chose one piece to use for this proposal which feature quotes that the CEO has said throughout the years regarding the hiring of attractive employees and the company’s sexual marketing. “We hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.” It honestly repulses me that a person would even say this. How is it ethical to only hire good looking people because you only want to market to and sell to other good looking people? “I think that what we represent sexually is healthy. It’s playful. It’s not dark. It’s not degrading! And it’s not gay, and it’s not straight, and it’s not black, and it’s not white. It’s not about any labels. That would be cynical, and we’re not cynical! It’s all depicting this wonderful camaraderie, friendship, and playfulness that exist in this generation and, candidly, does not exist in the older generation.” I plan to look deeper into the Abercrombie & Fitch case and different criticisms they have faced throughout the years but clearly, this company believes that these hiring practices are completely legitimate and only enhance the company.
For the second business perspective I looked at a FOXNEWS video about a coffee chain, Mary Lou’s Coffee. The employees are known for their tight pink t-shirts, and are known for being attractive. The reporters however thought this was ridiculous. The reporters argued that this is a legitimate practice because there is no current regulation prohibiting it, so why shouldn’t businesses partake in this? Another point one speaker made was that life is discriminatory and people are discriminatory and always make judgments and have opinions about other people. This is something that all people must get used to because it happens in every aspect of life, and hiring should be no different.
Clearly, based on the two examples I found for this proposal businesses do not see the problem with this type of hiring discrimination. I think that this denial is what makes the topic so interesting. My audience will definitely be businesses because they seem blind to why these practices are unethical.