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Pretty women at work face special challenges

Attractive women may have many advantages in life but may face special challenges in navigating the workplace. Ask Laura Fernee, a college grad in science, who says she is too pretty to work. Or ask Melissa Nelson, a dental assistant, who was fired because the Fort Dodge, Iowa dentist found her too attractive. Also, a New York lingerie company fired Lauren Odes for being too good-looking and for wearing provocative attire.

Teresa Vaca Astolfi, a successful model, attends the 'T de Telva' beauty awards 2014 at the Palace Hotel on January 30, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.
Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Advantages of good looks

“Several studies have shown that attractive people tend to earn more and receive more job offers,” says the Society for Human Resources. For example, researchers found attractive women are paid eight percent more while below-average looks result in four percent lower pay. Good-looking men get a four percent gain against a 13 percent penalty for lesser looks.

Good looks can get you fired

The Iowa Supreme Court upheld Firing Ms. Nelson on Dec. 21, 2012, saying in a unanimous vote, it is not unlawful discrimination. The court observed that all the other employees were women and Nelson was replaced by a woman. What got the young lady in trouble were some conversations at work with her employer and finally, the dentist’s wife discovering text messages between the two that could be considered flirtatious. Lauren Odes was fired by Native Intimates in May 2012, but the Equal Employment Oppertunities Commission is still investigating the case.

See the video on how to deal with passions at work

Attorney Donna Ballman says being hit on at work is sexual harassment and the employee’s employment should be protected. Natalie Peace, owner of PeaceandProfit, counsels attractive employees to rise above personal passions at work and just be passionate about your work.

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