Will Companies Profit When Hiring By Looks?

765 words - 4 pages

In recent years, companies such as Abercrombie and Fitch have adopted the practice of hiring employees based on looks. Whether this practice should be supported is a point of contention throughout the nation. Marshal Cohen, a senior industry analyst with the NPD group stated that, “In today’s competitive retail environment, methods have changed for capturing the consumer’s awareness of your brand. Being able to find a brand enhancer or… a walking billboard, is critical.” Cohen goes on to say that, “It’s really important to create an environment that’s enticing to the… younger, fashionable market. A guy wants to hang out in a store where he can see good-looking girls.” Though the retail industry is indeed competitive, it is not acceptable to hire employees based solely on their physical appearance in order to a boost a company’s profits. This practice compromises morality, quality service, and has the potential to elicit discrimination charges.
In companies like Hollister and Abercrombie, many individuals who are more than qualified to complete the tasks required of them are being overlooked because they may not have the appearance that the companies want in their stores. Tom Lennox, Abercrombie’s communications director, said that the company wishes to hire sales representatives who have a, “natural classic American style.” It seems that according to the brand, this is mainly achieved by Caucasian, young, and wealthy individuals. What looks good to some may not suit others, when hiring on the basis of physical appearance, racial, gender, age and disability discrimination charges can arise, according to the director of the L.A. office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Businesses can only operate when they profit, but if lawsuits are filed against them because of their questionable hiring practices, they stand to lose a considerable amount of wealth, as well as public approval.
Because employees are mandated to offer a job to any good-looking person they see, a business risks a lack of quality service that could also lead to fiscal detriment. “We were supposed to approach someone in the mall who we think will look attractive in our store,” says Mr. Serrano, a former manager for Abercrombie.” If that person said, ‘I never worked in retailing before,’ we said: ‘Who cares?’”...

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