unemployed candidates need not apply, and fired for being too hot

Two job-related stories have drawn a bunch of attention recently: the woman alleging CitiBank fired her for being “too hot,” and the Texas company that posted a job advertisement that specified that unemployed candidates shouldn’t apply.

I’m interested to hear your take on both of these, but mine is this:

The Texas company is crazy, of course. Any sensible hiring manager knows that the job market has been horrible and that good people have had an awful time finding jobs. Good hiring professionals don’t hold unemployment against candidates, as long as they’ve done something productive with their time away.

Also: People shouldn’t assume that this one ridiculous company represents a trend — it’s just one company doing something stupid and short-sighted.

As for the woman who claims she was fired for being too hot, well, the video that came out of her talking about her breast implants and desire to be “sex on a stick” doesn’t help her credibility. Neither does her behavior in the media; originally she sounded like a sympathetic victim, but the more she talks, the fewer favors she does herself. I have no idea if CitiBank did truly do what she alleges, but I do know that she’s not the poster child I’d want for discrimination, and the way she’s conducting herself all over the talk show circuit doesn’t really support the idea that she cares about her professional reputation.

{ 11 comments… read them below }

  1. Heather*

    I agree with you on the Texas case.

    My whole issue with the CitiBank one is the same as a lot of "discrimination" cases. Legally, it is not discrimination. Being pretty is not a protected class. I do believe it is wrong to fire someone for reasons other than performance or liability, but I don't think you should be able to sue for it either.

  2. Anonymous*

    I have heard of both cases.

    For Texas: How can they say that? I wonder if whoever wrote it lives under a rock. Or, I wonder if someone was trying to make the company look bad.

    As for looking to sexy, it's probably a they said, she said story. I haven't seen enough of the story to really comment.

    However, AAM, there's another story in the news that you may or may not have heard of and probably should add to this: What about the private Christian school teacher who was fired for having conceived her child out of wedlock? Private religious (especially Catholic) schools have clauses in their contracts stating the teacher will uphold all morals and ethics that goes along with the religion. Apparently that includes sex outside the marriage ("fornication" as termed in this case). The principal fired her shortly after she asked for maternity leave and admitted she conceived before her wedding. What's your take? How far can a company dictate your personal life?

  3. Katrina*

    I don't know enough about the Texas case, or hiring for that matter, to comment.

    But in the case of the Citi chick, I actually look quite a bit like her… 'Bout an inch shorter, scared to death of surgery.

    I would raise hell, too, but privately. And not about being fired for being Too Hot – that's totally subjective – but for sexual harassment. If any of the things she alleges occurred, and she has the proof she alleges, she needs to shut her mouth and take care of business. Talk to the press when you've won your suit.

  4. Rebecca*

    Right now, contract law generally states that if you voluntarily signed the piece of paper with the conditions, you're bound to them no matter what the conditions are. Usually, you can only get out if you can show that you were deceived (the terms were changed after you were offered them or after you signed), that you were forced to sign (the other party threatened you or physically forced you), or not mentally capable to sign at the time of signing.

    So far this has held even in some really awful cases (look up "Jamie Leigh Jones Halliburton").

  5. FrauTech*

    I think the Texas company was stupid for posting that, but from my perspective it is unfortunately a hiring trend right now. But then it always has been. There's always been a tendency to hire the employed over the unemployed, it's just there's a lot more in the latter category right now.

    As for the "too hot" woman I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter why she was fired. Given how much publicity she tried to drive up in the first place, and that that's her complaint not harassment, I'm almost certain she's trying to get a gig as a model or TV star or something and is using this as a publicity stunt to get that rolling.

    Anonymous- I know a case, personally, where someone artificially inseminated, while unmarried, and was fired from a catholic school. So you could hardly argue she did anything immoral like sex outside of marriage. I'm pretty certain private schools get to make dictates like that, especially if they've had their employees sign a morality clause. Where I work you can get fired for having a beer on your lunch hour even though we have office jobs and beer is legal. As long as its policy, and non-discriminatory, they can enforce it.

  6. Mike*

    I have to strongly disagree with AAM here on the issue of the former CitiBank employee. There is nothing wrong with a woman who wants to express her sexuality on her own time, and I feel it's prudish to hold this against her and claim that "it doesn't do her any favors".

    Women, like men are sexual beings, to the point that it appears alongside food and sleep in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs). To punish or criticize a woman for expressing this on her own time seems sexist in my mind, though I trust you don't intend it.

    Just like a man, a woman's professional reputation should be based only on their skills and experience inside the workplace, not the activities which take place outside.

  7. Class factotum*

    someone artificially inseminated, while unmarried, and was fired from a catholic school. So you could hardly argue she did anything immoral like sex outside of marriage.

    I think (not positive) that the issue is that AI (as in-vitro is) is against the Catholic rules. So it would have been part of her contract.

  8. Mike*

    A couple more thoughts:

    On the Texas issue, it's been long believed that it was easier to be hired when employed due perhaps to a belief that if you're unemployed it's in some way your fault. The thing I don't understand is that if you hire someone who is clearly willing to jump ship for you, who's to say they won't just as quickly jump ship to somewhere else? Versus the unemployed person who for a time will simply be grateful for the work?

    Finally, for those that hold the opinion that you shouldn't be fired for your looks but you shouldn't be able to sue for it – what do you propose instead? After all, there is the Harrah's case where women were required to wear make up, and another place (whose name I cannot remember) who banned cornrows, which was ruled to discriminate against protected groups. Wouldn't being fired for "being pretty" or "being ugly" for that matter be a logical extension of these rulings?

  9. Jason*

    CNN seems to think that the Texas company is not an isolated case.


    Of course it is easier to get hired if you already have a job. Your network is fresh, people take you more seriously when you are already employed, you are up to date on the latest standards of your field, etc. Yes there is prejudice towards those out of work. There is a prejudice towards everything that is perceived as not being the norm.

  10. Charles*

    "unemployed candidates need not apply"

    EvilHRLady had a post about this a little while back; So, I'll post the same response here.

    I have yet to see this personally; But, if/when I do I am so tempted to send them a "bogus" resume that will just WOW! them that they will want to bring me in to interview. I would, of course, have no intention of working for such narrow-minded individuals. But, I would love to just waste their time.

  11. Anonymous*

    For every company that refuses to hire the unemployed, there's another company that specifically wants to hire an unemployed person, because they are available to start right away and are less likely to demand a higher wage.

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