HOW DOES THE EXPERIENCE OF ASIAN AMERICANS IN CALIFORNIA WITH EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION AT ANF CONTRAST WITH THE PERCEPTION OF ASIAN AMERICANS AS A GROUP THAT DOES NOT EXPERIENCE EMPLOYMENT-RELATED DISCRIMINATION?
Chapter 15: Weight and Appearance 469
U.S. participants, both men and women who were taller than average had higher earnings, but men received greater returns on height than women did.34 Other samples have produced similar results.35 In a comprehensive longitudinal U.S. study with 8,590 people, Timothy Judge and Daniel Cable found that height was significantly related to earnings for both men and women and that advantages for tall people were stable over the course of their careers.36 International Feature 15.1 discusses a British study on the effects of beauty and height on labor market outcomes.
I Legislation Relevant to Weight and Appearance
Is it illegal to prefer those who are tall, thin, or attractive over others? In general, it is not, unless doing so also disadvantages people with other protected attributes (such as race, sex, age, disability, or religion). In one study with a representative sample of U.S. adults, researchers found that more of the 2,300 adults surveyed reported weight or height discrimination than those who reported race and sex discrimination.37 In this section, legislation and some cases related to weight are discussed, followed by appearance legislation and related cases.
The ADA and Weight
Presently in the United States, no federal legislation prohibits discrimination based on weight alone; however, in certain cases, such discrimination may be illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As previous chapters have pointed out, under the ADA, people who actually have or who are perceived to have a disability (regardless of whether this perception is accurate) are protected from employment discrimination.38 Therefore, if an employer assumes that an applicant’s weight will impede his or her ability to perform a job and makes a negative employment decision on the basis of this perception, the applicant could have a claim under the ADA.
34Loh, E. S. (1993). “The Economic Effects of Physical Appearance.” Social Science Quarterly, 74: 42(M38.
“Harper, B. (2000). “Beauty, Stature, and the Labour Market: A British Cohort Study.” Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics (Special Issue), 62: 771-800; Sargent, J. D., & Blanchflower, D. G. (1994). “Obesity and Stature in Adolescence and Earnings in Young Adulthood: Analysis of a British Birth Cohort.” Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 148: 681-687. “judge, T. A., & Cable, D. M. (2004). “The Effect of Physical Height on Workplace Success and Income: A Preliminary Test of a Theoretical Model.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 89: 428-441. 37Puh! et al. (2008).
,sRoehling, M. V., Posthuma, R. A., & Dulebohn, J. (2007). “Obesity-Related ‘Perceived Disability’ Claims: Legal Standards and Human Resource Implications.” Employee Relations Law Journal, 32: 30-51.
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