Attractive People Favored at Your Job? Here's What to Do

It's not quite a myth that attractive people sometimes get favored in the workplace. Some employers and managers make "inspired" choices on this basis, and in the process infuriate their staff.

Please note: There are some real problems and issues here, and it's necessary to know how to deal with them effectively.

The "attractive people" syndrome

What a person looks like has no bearing whatever on the promotion on merit principle or equal opportunity entitlements. If you're entitled to a position or other form of workplace benefit, it's a matter of your being denied your rights, if you're not given due opportunities in these areas. 

Some employers are erratic and unreliable by nature.  The "attractive people" syndrome is a good indication of that fact. Nepotism is another likely habit of this sort of employer.

There's another description for this type of employer: Incompetent. These breaches of employment law and basic principles are indefensible, even in theory:

  1. People are supposed to have a right to equal chances to work experience, training, and promotional opportunities. If that's not the case, the employee has sufficient grounds for complaint.
  2. Appointing a less qualified or inexperienced person "on merit" won't hold up in an appeal.
  3. Evidence of cronyism or nepotism will lose an equal opportunity case very effectively for an employer.

You can appeal against any workplace practice which you feel breaches your rights as an employee under the Equal Opportunity laws. If you have sufficient grounds for appeal, statistically the odds are that you will probably succeed.

Things not to do in a case of favoritism

These are the big Don'ts, when confronted with "attractive people" syndrome: 

  • Do not discuss the matter inside the workplace with anyone. In this case, that means literally don't say a word about it. This type of employer will hear about any complaints, and react very aggressively to any dissent.
  • Do not take any action "on principle". Check with an employment lawyer before taking action, make sure you can proceed and win.

Other options

The "attractive people" syndrome usually comes in one of two formats:

  1. The local manager who promotes favorites in a large organization
  2. The employer who rules the workplace on personal preferences

In either of these situations, you'll need to consider whether it's worth working for someone who's so bad at their job they don't even understand basic employment law. It may not be. You may need to move on, in both scenarios, but look at your options, first.

 In a large organization a transfer or move into another area may be enough to get rid of the manager issue. You can also spare yourself the problem of getting another job if you're patient about your transfer.

If it's the employer who's the problem, it may not be worth staying. Move on, even if you win a case against this type of employer.