At home, dressing as you like is not a problem. On the job, your appearance comes under the scrutiny of those who sign your pay check and therefore may have something to say about how you present yourself.

In addition, your appearance is not limited to just clothing. The list also includes items such as hairstyle, weight and body piercing.

In the realm of public opinion, nearly 40 percent of 1,000 people in a poll agreed that employers have the right to discriminate against someone based on hairstyle, weight, body piercings or tattoos.

Along those same lines, another third of those surveyed believe that “better looking” people stand a better chance of being hired or promoted. And that can be troubling. In fact, nearly a third of those polled said federal law should provide protections for individuals not considered attractive looking, who may be overweight or who wear less-than-traditional clothing.

In that same survey, close to 20 percent of respondents said they had been discriminated against because of the way they looked. Of that group, nearly 40 percent said the discrimination was directed at their general appearance; 33 percent said it was for weight; and 15 percent said it was for hair style.

Those in management positions are more likely to say something about another’s appearance in the workplace. Surprisingly, nearly half of employers in the survey reported having no policy related to an employees’ appearance.

In the past, the majority of legal actions brought against employers involved individuals who worked directly with the public – waiters and waitresses, cab drivers, bus drivers, and salespeople. However, conflicts today seem to be coming from all spectrums of the workplace. Given that degree of activity, it is imperative that employers stick to job requirements related to hiring or other personnel matters in order to effectively defend themselves against claims of discrimination.

Not only are employer/employee conflicts over appearance on the increase, more cases are winding up in the courts and government agencies. For example, one reported case involved casino cocktail waitresses disputing a requirement that they be weighed once a week. In another case, an employee challenged his employer on religious grounds his right to wear facial and tongue jewelry on the job.

No longer considered frivolous disputes by upset employees, people are more frequently challenging how much an employer can dictate an employee’s appearance on the job.

When you need workers with the right skills and background to do the jobs you need doing, contact StaffEx. We can help your Tampa company find great people to fill your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire assignments. Contact us today!

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