Good Looking v Just being Good
- AuthorDebbie Sansome
A London bar has caused outrage when placing a job advert stating that it was necessary for female applicants to be 'physically attractive for the role'.
Aside from this advert having all employment law solicitors gasping in horror, not to even start on the words 'Equality Act', are there really employers out there who psychologically recruit by 'swiping left or right' at the appearance of a candidate?
Is the 'logic' behind this the fact that the bar is fashionable and tries to attract a certain kind of clientele, that the manager only likes to work with 'attractive' people, or is this about keeping some kind of 'perception' of what people should look like in certain roles?
If we think back to an image of cabin crew wherein their physical appearance was representative of the company’s brand and women would spend the first part of their day having their hair and makeup done to create that brand. This has become outdated and female employees no longer have to spend an hour in hair and makeup in trying to fit the stereotype for their role.
However, are we all guilty of trying to fit into a brand or perception? Do you dress differently when visiting a solicitor or accountant compared to visiting a doctor or dentist. Do you speak differently when addressing a colleague compared to the CEO. Why do most brides ask their makeup artist to 'turn them into someone else' for the day. I think perception is more apparent in all of our minds than we may think and does play a part in deciding what we do and how we act.
There are some instances wherein positive discrimination can apply in which it is lawful to require a candidate to have a particular protected characteristic. For example, an occupational requirement for only one sex to carry out a particular role. However, positive discrimination is limited and should only be used in certain circumstances. To ask for only attractive candidates to apply for a bar role, is not one of those circumstances.
As employers ourselves, what possible justification would one give when selecting an attractive candidate who could be a poor performer in the role over and above an 'ordinary looking' candidate who has the best skill set?
Have to go, as I am recruiting for legal experience....now where is Daniel Craig’s CV