87765-piy-ch12-01.pdf_119843 - CHAP TER Employment...

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FIGURE 12.1 An Abercrombie & Fitch Billboard in New York City Source: Photo courtesy of FaceMePLS, http://www.flickr.com/ photos/faceme/2536281153. employment-at-will Legal doctrine that employees can be hired and fired at the will of the employer. CHAPTER 12 Employment Discrimination LEARNING OBJECTIVES Great strides have been made in recent decades in eliminating the smears of discrimination from many facets of society such as voting rights, property ownership, and education. In the workplace, however, systematic discrimination continues to take its toll on many. This chapter explores workplace discrimination and examines the legal remedies available to those who believe they may be victims of discrimination. After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions: 1. What are the various civil rights statutes that govern employment discrimination? 2. What legal theories govern recovery discrimination lawsuits? 3. How can businesses steer clear of liability for discrimination? Figure 12.1 shows a billboard for Abercrombie & Fitch (or A&F, as it’s sometimes known), a clothing retailer. The Columbus, Ohio–based company generates nearly $2 billion in sales annually by selling clothes in retail locations throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. As the billboard suggests, A&F’s marketing concept (which it calls “Casual Luxury”) is based heavily on portraying a certain image. How would you characterize that image? If you used adjectives like athletic, young, all-American, sexy, or attractive, you would be correctly identifying the company’s strategy. The strategy works as it has helped the company generate hundreds of millions in profits for its shareholders. A&F relies on a message that boils down to convincing its young consumers that by wearing A&F clothing, they will also be young, athletic, and attractive. If consumers don’t believe that message, they will likely abandon the brand for another in this hugely competitive segment. To maintain the authenticity of that marketing message, A&F rigorously hires only models that fit a certain image in print and Web advertising. It extends this practice to store workers so that any time a customer interacts with A&F, that brand image is reinforced. Is it illegal for A&F to hire only “attractive” people to work in its stores? The answer is no, just as it’s not illegal for Vogue magazine to hire only attractive models, or for a cosmetics company to hire only salespeople with clear skin. Under the employment-at-will doctrine, workers in the United States are free to work for whomever they want to (or not work at all), and employers are free to hire whomever they want to, and fire them at will. The vast majority of workers in the United States are covered by the at-will doctrine.
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87765-piy-ch12-01.pdf_119843 - CHAP TER Employment...

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