When Hiring Borders Discrimination
My typical early start to the day always warrants a steaming cup of black coffee. It's Monday and I actually did not feel like I was hit by a bus or need to drag myself to work. I smiled at just about every stranger and chirped my way into the office.
Somewhere amidst planning for my day ahead, in walks my CEO. He greets me and requests a brief meeting to discuss staffing and recruiting strategy changes. I accept and offer to meet with him briefly following our morning recap.
My CEO and I has always had a great business relationship, that which I believe is key in any organization. He ran just about everything passed me as it related to HR and our organizational success. Our relationship has always been a straight forward candid, yet objective and respectful one.
I knew it was about to get interesting when he said that we were technically not having this conversation. Our discussion commenced with him letting me know that our organizations' image was at stake and how important it was to ensure that our employees projected the right image. He felt that we needed to 'cut loose' those employees who were not model-like, thin, appealing and 'sexy', a move that he felt would be ideal for our clients.
To satisfy your curious minds, we most certainly were not a modelling agency. Without being too specific, we were in fact a fast growing organization within the service industry which mostly required high levels of interaction with clients.
A situation as such if not handled correctly can easily turn into any HR professional's nightmare. After all, our job is to protect the organization's interest by providing sound legal and ethical advice before decisions are made or action is taken. Decisions which will save the company from internal and external lawsuits and or unnecessary liability.
So how do you handle such a discussion? Do you offer eager support to satisfy your CEO or do you shower him with a dose of candid legal advise?
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a certain image for your organization, it is however important to review your strategy and practices being followed to ensure compliance with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision, popularly known as EEOC.
Can you and should you fire all your current staff because you want to hire thin sexy employees who you feel will be most appealing to your current clientele? Absolutely not.
Can you decide to actively recruit qualified attractive candidates? Most certainly but keep in mind that your HR department now most likely need to conduct sexual harassment training just about every week.
Written and composed by a contributor at Heserhoff Consulting.
The writer may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org