“Ugly” Employees Fare Worse

A study done by the University of Michigan showed that employees considered unattractive are more likely to be bullied in the workplace.

The researchers surveyed 114 workers at a health care facility in the southeastern United States. The workers were asked how often their co-workers engaged in cruel behavior toward them (which included saying hurtful things, acting rudely and making fun of them).

People who didn’t know the study participants judged their attractiveness from digital photos.

The unattractive workers were treated much more harshly than attractive employees even when other key factors were taken into account, including age, gender and how long they had worked at the health care facility.

While these are not surprising, they are somewhat disheartening. Throughout our lives we’re taught to treat each other with respect and dignity at all times. The workplace should be no exception. But when you get a group of people together en masse, without the right management, the environment can regress to a high school level.

“Although we like to think we’re professional and mature in the workplace, it can be just like high school in many ways,” said Brent Scott, one of the study’s lead investigators.

The best way to avoid this is to train your managers to hire and evaluate based upon the employee’s skills, not upon how the employee looks, and how the employee meets the requirements of the job.

After all, beauty is truly only in the eye of the beholder.