Personal Appearance regulations and Title VII(U.S employment laws)

However some minority groups have a higher incidence of obesity, so employers must ensure their weight rules don’t adversely impact these groups. To qualify for reasonable accommodation, obese applicants must demonstrate they are 100 pounds above their ideal weights or there is a physiological cause for their disability. In practice, employers sometimes treat overweight female applicants and employees to their disadvantages and this is a potential problem.

Arrest Records: Unless security clearance is necessary you should not ask an applicant whether he or she has ever been arrested or spent time in jail, or use an arrest record to disqualify a person for a position automatically. There is always a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. In addition, (1) arrest records in general are not valid for predicting job performance and (2) police have arrested a higher proportion of minorities than whites. Thus, disqualifying applicants based on arrest records automatically has an adverse impact on minorities. You can ask about conviction records, and then determine on a case be case basis whether the facts justify refusal to employ an applicant in a particular position.

Application forms: Employment applications generally shouldn’t contain questions about applicants’ disabilities, workers compensation history, age, arrest record, or US citizenship. Personal information required for legitimate tax or benefit reasons (such as who to contact in case of emergency) is best collected after you hire the person (Note that while equal employment laws discourage employers from asking for such information, no such laws prohibit the applicants themselves from offering it. One study examined 107 resumes from Australian managerial applicants. Many provided information regarding marital status, ethnicity, age, and gender.

A disproportionate number of minorities are subjected to garnishment procedures (in which creditors make a claim to a portion of the person’s wages). Therefore, firing a minority member whose salary is garnished is illegal, unless you can show some overriding business necessity.

Sample Discriminatory Promotion, Transfer, and layoff practices:

Fair employment laws protect not just job applicants but also current employees. Any employment practices regarding pay, promotion, termination, discipline or benefits that (1) are applied differently to different classes of persons; (2) adversely impact members of a protected group and (3) cannot be shown to be required as a BFOQ or business necessity may be held to be illegally discriminatory. For example, the Equal Pay Act requires that equal wages be paid for substantially similar work performed by both men and women.

Personal Appearance regulations and Title VII:

Employees have filed suits against employers’ dress and appearances codes under Title VII usually claiming sex discrimination but sometimes claiming racial discrimination. A sampling of court rulings follows:

1) Dress: In general, employers do not violate Title VII’s ban on sex bias by requiring all employees to dress conservatively. For example, a supervisor’s suggestion that a female attorney tone her attire was permissible when the firm consistently sought to maintain a conservative dress style and it also counseled men on dressing conservatively
2) Hair: Again, courts usually favor employers. For example, employer rules against facial hair do not constitute sex discrimination because they discrimination only between clean shaven and bearded men, a type of discrimination not qualified as sex bias under Title VII. In many cases, courts also rejected arguments that grooming regulations (such as prohibitions against corn row hair styles) are racially biased and infringe on black employees’ expression of cultural identification. In one case the court decided (in favor of American Airlines) that a braided hair style is a characteristic easily changed and not worn exclusively or even predominantly by black people.
3) Uniforms: When it comes to discriminatory uniforms and suggestive attire, however, courts have frequently sided with employees. For example, a bank’s dress policy requiring female employees to wear prescribed uniforms consisting of five basic color coordinated items but requiring male employees only to wear appropriate business attire is an example of a discriminatory policy. And requiring female employees (such as waitresses) to wear sexually suggestive attire as a condition of employment has also been ruled as violating Title VII in many cases.