Did you know a company can refuse to hire you if you’re overweight? And it’s perfectly legal for them to fire you for sharing your political views? Here are the types of workplace discrimination that seem like they’d be against the law, but aren’t:

  • Appearance. In most states, companies can reject your application based on your weight, or your looks. The only time it’s not okay to discriminate based on looks, is if the standards are unequal. For example, if the women are required to be good looking, but the men aren’t. And if you’re already hired but you’re morbidly obese, or need weight-related medical treatment – you may be protected under federal disability laws.
  • If you share your political views. You may think you’re exercising your right to free speech by discussing politics at work. But the only employees whose political views are protected by the First Amendment are government employees. For everyone else, you can be fired if you exercise your right to free speech – no mater what it’s about. The only time you can’t be fired over it is if you’re discussing workplace conditions.
  • Bad credit or bankruptcy. In most cases, it’s also legal for employers to refuse to hire you if you’ve got bad credit, or declared bankruptcy. Because they might consider that a risk factor for potential theft or embezzlement. But they can’t fire you if you go bankrupt while you work there.
  • Can companies play favorites, and hire family and friends ahead of other applicants? Yes! It’s only illegal if the “favored few” are all the same race, or religion – outside of family. Or if the only people promoted are willing to date the boss. In that case, you might have a sexual harassment case. But if you complain about perfectly legal favoritism, you can be fired for it, which is also perfectly legal.

Lesson Expert

Jennifer Boller

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