Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lookism - An Amusing (?) Survey

James Richards, a lecturer in Human Resource Management in the School of Management and Languages at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, who has just submitted his Ph.D dissertation on workplace misbehaviour and in his spare time writes Work-related Blogs and News, the only blog I know that focuses on work related blogging, has an interesting post about Lookism.

Personnel Today, a British publication did a survey about different things which employees are teased about, apparently with the underlying thought that where there is teasing there might well be unfavorable treatment.

You can check out the chart in full at his post, but a couple of examples caught my attention. More people thought it was appropriate to tease others about their small breasts (49%) than about dandruff (29%) (5% of HR personnel surveyed thought it was permissible to tease about either small breasts or dandruff). Perhaps not too surprisingly, those surveyed thought it was better to tease about large breasts (63% of employees and 7% of HR personnel). And of those who had the characteristic in question, those who had actually been teased about it were
  • large breasts (73%),
  • small breasts (59%) and
  • dandruff (21%).

For ginger hair, baldness and large ears, plus a dozen or so more characteristics and some actual comments read the article itself.

One quote from a business psychologist (not sure I knew there was such a specialty) really should come as no surprise to anyone: "Men emerge as less sensitive to other people's opinions, and what people say generally won't affect their [men's] opinion of themselves."

One question that did come to mind — where did the HR personnel that were willing to say that they thought it was ok to tease employees about breast size come from?


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