Women face many challenges in the workplace. Studies show that people will attribute greater confidence, competence, reliability, and personability to women who wear makeup and subscribe to certain other “feminine” beauty standards. While the law cannot control what a person on the street thinks, it can control how your employer behaves and, if you have been punished at work (whether explicitly or implicitly) because of the appearance choices you made, your employer may have engaged in impermissible discrimination. Get in touch with an experienced New Jersey sex discrimination to talk about the legal options you may have.
The evidence you need in a case like this need not be explicit; even just indirect proof can potentially allow you to present your case to a jury. For example, there’s V.E., the plaintiff in a recent Title VII sex discrimination lawsuit. J.H., a manager in the woman’s office, allegedly engaged in various inappropriate behaviors. According to V.E., the manager included “very ’racey videos’ at the end of team meetings.” The woman also gave the court text message exchanges with a co-worker where that co-worker stated that the manager “seems to be ok w/ the blondes,” V.E., who was a Latina in her mid-40s, also provided testimony that the manager hired women “with a particular appearance.”
This was enough proof to defeat the employer’s motion for a summary judgment. One of the employer’s key arguments was that the employment action about which V.E. complained was actually gender-neutral. The court, however, ruled that the evidence V.E. had provided could “support the inference that [the manager’s] ostensibly gender-neutral conduct was” really based on sex.