Katie graduated from college with a degree in accounting but found that the job market was such that she simply could not find a position wherein she could take advantage of her educational skills. Katie decided then, after reading the want ads, that she would apply for a position as a teller in a local bank. She hoped that she would be able to work her way up the ladder since she was quite bright and felt that her skills in finance would provide her an opportunity for quick advancement in any bank she worked for.
Katie went to the interview well dressed. Katie did not give a second thought to the large tattoo of a butterfly on the side of her neck.
While there were half a dozen other individuals interviewing for the position Katie was sure that both her personality and her educational background would make her the number one candidate and she would surely get the job. She was quite surprised when she was notified that she was not hired. When she inquired why, she was told that her appearance because of the tattoo was a disqualifying factor.
ISSUE: Was Katie discriminated against?
ANSWER: Katie may have been discriminated against but the discrimination was not actionable under the law. The employer had every right not to hire her if that employer felt that her physical presentation would be offensive to some degree to some of the banks’ cliental. Had Katie not been hired and it could have been proved that she was rejected because of her race, religion, sex or possibly her age, she might have had a basis for legal action against the bank.
Disclaimer: The above article is for instructive purposes only and each case is fact sensitive. Consultation with an attorney should be obtained instead of reliance upon the legal issues discussed in this column.