Keeping up appearances: Aesthetic labor and discrimination law
There is growing evidence of corporate demand for employees who have aesthetic qualities that can be deployed in marketing and branding strategies. The practice has invariably been described as ‘lookism’ or ‘appearance-based discrimination’ in the United States and ‘Aesthetic labor’ in the United Kingdom. This article considers the practice of discrimination on the basis of physical appearance in the workplace. Examining in detail the recent Australian discrimination case of Hopper & Others v. Virgin Blue Airlines Pty Ltd  it draws attention to aesthetic labor issues and reveals some of the inadequacies of existing discrimination law. It is argued that the facts of this case and the reasoning in the judgment indicate a need for wider recognition of discrimination on the basis of physical attributes in Australian law to provide adequate remedies for those discriminated against for not possessing the ‘right look’.