Too Ugly to Get a Job?

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Forget about having to pad your resume or ace that job interview. Getting a job, it seems, is all about your looks these days.

American Apparel, the latest retailer to come under fire for beauty profiling, is facing allegations that the company will not hire you unless you’re hot. According to Gawker, the overtly sexual clothing chain instituted a new hiring policy that required stores to take “full body head to toe” photos of applicants for approval.

The chain maintains that this submission process is to judge for personal style, not beauty. This sounds plausible (someone selling clothes should have style, yes?), but former employees are telling the Web site that the facial profiling runs deeper than that. According to the allegations, applicants weren’t hired until an unspecified third party approved their pictures. More notably, current employees eligible for a raise or promotion were supposedly required to submit updated comprehensive body shots before a decision would be made.

Of course, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine for the beautiful people out there either. Citibank (Stock Quote: C) is being sued by a former employee who says the bank fired her for being too good looking.

According to the lawsuit, Debrahlee Lorenzana was told that, due to her height and curvaceous figure, “she must refrain from wearing certain items of clothing, in particular, turtleneck tops, pencil skirts, fitted business suits, or other properly tailored clothing."  

When the bank felt she did not comply with this request, Lorenzana was let go. Citibank defended the termination, saying that the lawsuit, which was dismissed due to an existing  Citibank contractual obligation to settle disputes via mediation, was “without merit.”

So, what’s a job seeker to do? It seems you’re either too hot or not hot enough to get a job these days.

Of course, the debate over how appearance factors into hiring practices (or if it should) is nothing new.  Prior to this article, MainStreet reported on a Hooters waitress who was allegedly fired for gaining weight and readers will surely recall the Web site BeautifulJobSeekers.com, which was founded on the principle that some companies need to hire attractive people. However, this is easily the first time we felt compelled to conclude that Plain Janes and Average Joes have a monopoly on the job market.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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