According to the federal law, employees cannot be discriminated based on age, gender, religion, race, nationality, or disability because they cannot change these qualities. On the other hand, employee discrimination based on physical appearance is not a protected category in California. Some companies may even treat their employees differently based on their physical appearance. However, if you can prove that your appearance is connected to one of the protected classes, and that is the reason you are being discriminated against, then you can be protected under federal law.
For instance, sometimes appearance can be linked to religious attires, which falls under the protection of the government. Other times, a company may treat men and women differently, by forcing women to wear skirts…etc. Moreover, employee’s weight as itself is not considered actionable as well. It can only be protected if it is considered as a protected class. For example, an employer fires all fat women. Taking into consideration all aforementioned facts, oftentimes employers take precautions for avoiding a lawsuit by writing discriminatory standards into the fabric of the policies.
It should be noted that professional offices have right to abolish their workers to wear sweatpants to work. Workers may also be required to cut their hairs or tie back, in order not to be caught in equipment. Religious headscarves are allowed but not if they might be caught in equipment. So it is essential to be consistent in treatment of men and women as well as distinguishable groups like Caucasians, Hispanics, and others.
Can An Employment Lawyer Help You if You Have Been Discriminated Based on Your Appearance?
The law surrounding an individual’s appearance in the workplace is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. Whether you feel unfairly treated, or believe your employer has violated CA work appearance law, it is important to protect your rights. Don’t wait another day to speak with an experienced attorney regarding your important employment matter.