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Should Appearance Be a Factor in Hiring?

Should Appearance Be a Factor in Hiring?
Image credit: Richard Young/Rex Features

Should you be able to hire employees based on how they look?

Retailer Abercrombie & Fitch is under investigation in France for using looks as a key determinant in hiring. While the company claims it is hiring models -- a role where looks are naturally important -- the employees are actually used as sales clerks, where appearance is less important.

In the U.S., a court recently ruled in New Jersey that cocktail waitresses at casinos can be hired and fired based on appearance, notably weight. If you want to be a Borgata babe, there was an expectation that you were, well, a babe.

Courts have largely found that appearance can't be a factor if it isn't a key part of your job. But studies have found that people who are considered good looking often get preference in hiring and do better in sales.

Of course, it works both ways. You can be too hot. According to an Iowa court, distracting beauty can be grounds for dismissal.

So, as a business owner, should you be allowed to use looks in personnel decisions? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments section below.
 

Ray Hennessey is Editorial Director of Entrepreneur.com.

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