Human Resource Compliance: Only Good Looking Candidates Need Apply…

by | Sep 11, 2009 | Blog, HR Compliance

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or

I love my job.

I have great coworkers, an awesome boss, beautiful workspace, and as any human resources consultant can attest, working in this industry provides many interesting and “strange-but-true” stories.

A friend of mine contacted me the other day wanting my opinion on a situation in her office. She was tasked with interviewing and selecting candidates to be her boss’ personal assistant. After reviewing the responsibilities of the position, her boss added he would only consider “nice looking and thin” women and not to bring him any “fat or ugly ones.” Not being in HR, but knowing enough to understand personal appearance wasn’t a bona fide occupational qualification, she was at a loss as how to proceed.

Just when you think you’ve heard everything.

While being less than beautiful and overweight are not protected classes, certain characteristics that areprotected could potentially be violated in this situation. I encouraged my friend to base her recommendations on what really matters: the candidates’ skill set, attitude and experience relevant to the position. I also recommended she take good interviewing notes and thoroughly document why she selected which candidate. She might not be able to control how her boss chose to make the final determination; however, her actions would be covered in the event a problem arose.

Need advice on a crazy work situation? Contact us for help!

Submitted by: Dawn Karrer, PHR; Human Resources Consultant at IntegrityHR, Inc.

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