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Laurent Drogin Quoted on Hiring Policies Favoring “Good-Looking” People Based on Recent NBC Lawsuit in the Headlines

August 8, 2017

TKD Labor & Employment chair Laurent Drogin was quoted in a Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) online article about a recent lawsuit where a former NBC employee alleges that NBC’s hiring policies favor “good-looking” people. This case involves an NBC audio-visual coordinator who claimed that the company's recruiter told her in the recruitment process that NBC specifically asked for "good-looking" employees. SHRM reported that she was hired but demoted and later fired, she alleged, in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment by her boss.

The SHRM article noted that most management attorneys say that it is not technically prohibited by federal law to base hiring on looks although it is a misguided hiring policy. Laurent was quoted in the article, cautioning that, "Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, reasonable people may differ on what 'good-looking' means...While employers technically may seek out only good-looking employees without violating federal or state law, they may as a practical matter wind up with disparate impact claims, such as for gender or age discrimination."

Laurent also went on to say that "Since there is no known correlation between good looks and ability to perform a job, focusing on looks guarantees a workforce where some better people are excluded, while at the same time alienating employees who will arguably lose their good looks over time and become potential plaintiffs.” Read the full article here.

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