Most well trained recruiters are aware of the all the forms of illegal discrimination that should be eradicated from the hiring process. In the US, the more commonly known forms of discrimination are: age, disability, equal pay/compensation, National Origin, Pregnancy, Race/Color, Religion, Sex and Sexual Harassment. Pretty much every body knows about these and, of course, it is important they are adhered to, but I thought it would be worth drawing attention to 5 lesser known forms of discrimination which employers and recruiters should be aware of and aim to eradicate from their hiring, firing and promotion processes. And you can find these below.
A recent survey showed that 52% of obese people feel they have been discriminated against when applying for a job or promotion and so weight discrimination does happen. While weight is not a protected class under federal discrimination laws, it might have indirect protection under other protected classes such as disability or sex discrimination, or direct protection even under some state laws. Also, just last year, the EEC gained settlements in its first two major cases of weight-related obesity discrimination and so obesity discrimination is now being tested in the courts.
A study by Patricia Cukor-Avila from the University of North Texas has found that job candidates with identifiable regional accents may face discrimination when interviewing for jobs because interviewers rates those with less obvious accents higher without knowing if they are better qualified.
Once again, although accent discrimination does occur, it is not a protected category, but it could potentially be indirectly linked to some other protected criteria such as national origin or race.
3. Attractiveness discrimination
A study reported in science daily from the University of Colorado Denver Business School has found that beautiful women were discriminated against for jobs considered ‘masculine’ and where appearance was not thought to be important for the job, such as: manager of research, director of finance, mechanical engineer and construction supervisor.
For men, they found that attractive men did not experience similar discrimination and enjoyed an advantage over less attractive men. They concluded that beautiful people enjoy a significant advantage over the less attractive in the workplace and highlighted a Newsweek study of 202 hiring managers which led them to conclude that looks matter in every aspect of the workplace and ranked third above education and sense of humour in a list of nine desirable character attributes.
Did you know that discrimination on the basis of genetic information is no longer confined to Sci-Fi films like Gattaca? It is now illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants based on their genetic information in the US. You are also not generally allowed to try and establish genetic information about an individual unless its under strict conditions
It is illegal to fire, demote, fail to hire or promote an employee or applicant because they have filed a charge of discrimination against an employer or because they complained about discrimination.