Affirmative action for a face only a mother could love?

Journal of Business Ethics 11 (11):869 - 875 (1992)
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Physical attractiveness is highly valued in our society and impacts a variety of decisions made by organizations. Generally speaking, research findings suggest that the more attractive the person, the greater the likelihood of favorable employment-related decisions. It follows then, that those considered physically unattractive will suffer adversely in some employment-related decisional contexts — decisions that may prevent them from achieving the good life. Until recently, discrimination against unattractive people has been considered nothing more than a moral or ethical issue. However, with the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, attractiveness as an employment-related criteria may become a legal issue. In this essay, we propose that the history of social and legal trends, coupled with uncertainties and ambiguities within the ADA, represents a possible expansion of protection for physically unattractive people.



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