Article

Height Discrimination in Employment

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Abstract

At first blush, the concept of real height discrimination is almost laughable. After all, we don't typically think of height when we discuss types of discrimination. Yet there is no denying that we place a high premium on height, be it social, sexual, or economic, and our preference for height pervades almost every aspect of our lives. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith - who towered at 6'8" - described the favored treatment we afford taller people as "one of the most blatant and forgiven prejudices in our society." If you don't believe it, consider whether you yourself would like to be taller and, if so, try putting your finger on the reason why. This Article looks critically at heightism, i.e., prejudice or discrimination against a person on the basis of his or her height. Specifically, this Article focuses on heightism in the workplace, particularly prejudice against short people because of the unique disadvantages they face vis-a-vis their taller counterparts. Although much scholarship has focused on other forms of trait-based discrimination - most notably weight and appearance discrimination, both of which indirectly involve height as a component - little if any treatment has been given to pure height discrimination. Thus, this Article aims to fill that gap by examining the ways that existing federal antidiscrimination laws - namely Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 - do and do not protect against height-based prejudice in the workplace. Moreover, after briefly examining state and local remedies for height discrimination, including state antidiscrimination laws, this Article considers but ultimately rejects enacting a federal law that would flatly prohibit height-based employments decisions. Although a comprehensive prohibition would be easiest to administer, such a prohibition would prove both gratuitous and unwise.

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... Body height not only affects the ability of one person and how he/she regards himself/herself, but also affects how others view one person and the future career development [4]. In the past decades, a large amount of studies have found evidences in support of the height premium across countries and genders [5], where tall people receive more benefits across several domains [6], and the height discrimination [7], where short people are discriminated on the basis of their body height in workplace [8]. ...
... In columns (6) and (7), after gradually controlling the education level (D Degree and D S chool ) and the previous working experience (S eniority and Age), the coefficient of Height remains positive and significant, and the explanatory power of all variables together increases. In column (8), holding all other variables fixed, we notice that the effects of height on expected salary are still positive (β 1 = 0.0071) and very significant (t Height = 0.0071/0.0004 ≈ 18). ...
Article
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Height premium has been revealed by extensive literature, however, evidence from China based on large-scale data remains still lacking. In this paper, we study how height conditions salary expectations by exploring a dataset covering over 140,000 Chinese job seekers. By using graphical and regression models, we find evidence in support of height premium that tall people expect a significantly higher salary in career development. In particular, regression results suggest stronger effects of height premium on female than on male, however, the gender differences decrease as the education level increases and become insignificant after holding all control variables fixed. Further, results from graphical models suggest three promising ways in helping short people: (i) to accumulate more working experiences, since one year seniority can respectively make up about 3 cm and 7 cm shortness for female and male; (ii) to increase the level of education, since one higher academic degree may eliminate all disadvantages that brought by shortness; (iii) to target jobs in regions with a higher level of development. Our work provides a cross-culture supportive evidence of height premium and contributes two novel features to the literature: the compensation story in helping short people, and the focus on salary expectations in isolation from discrimination channels.
... One major topic that needs consideration is public discourses centred on biomedical construction of appropriate body size in a community and its association with good health, as reported by others (Best, 2013;Conrad, Macki, & Mehrota, 2010;Rosenberg, 2009;Wills et al., 2006). The present study suggests that parents may consider their adolescents with height and/or weight outside the medical criteria as unhealthy by accepting this view. ...
... In addition, a few mothers believed that smaller/larger body size of their daughter could have an impact on her future marriage and marital relationship. These findings have been confirmed by some researchers (Case & Paxson, 2008;Charvadeh & Kermani, 2010;Magnusson et al., 2005;Rosenberg, 2009;Samaras, 2012;Zokaei, 2009). While these studies showed that in some communities taller height has a positive correlation with an individual's performance, success in revenue and marriage, and greater intelligence, Samaras (2012) presented that the acceptance of taller height is a mistaken idea in other settings. ...
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Parents’ concerns regarding the growth characteristics of their adolescents: a qualitative inquiry in Iran
... Body height not only affects the ability of one person and how he/she regards himself/herself, but also affects how others view one person and the future career development [4]. In the past decades, a large amount of studies have found evidences in support of the height premium across countries and genders [5], where tall people receive more benefits across several domains [6], and the height discrimination [7], where short people are discriminated on the basis of their body height in workplace [8]. ...
... In columns (6) and (7), after gradually controlling the education level (D Degree and D S chool ) and the previous working experience (S eniority and Age), the coefficient of Height remains positive and significant, and the explanatory power of all variables together increases. In column (8), holding all other variables fixed, we notice that the effects of height on expected salary are still positive (β 1 = 0.0071) and very significant (t Height = 0.0071/0.0004 ≈ 18). ...
... In comparison, much less attention has been given to the influence of height on the greater likelihood of being employed although evidence that taller individuals are more likely to be hired as compared with shorter individuals can be found in peer-reviewed and in gray literature (Rosenberg, 2009). In this regard, it is important to note that focusing on the relationships between height, earnings and occupational choices while ignoring the relationship between height and employment can be a mistake within the context of developing and postcommunist countries for three main reasons . ...
Article
Objectives We study the influence of height on labour market outcomes using micro‐data from a recent survey that cover 27 post‐communist countries. Specifically, we focus on the influence of height on three dimensions of labour market outcome: (1) likelihood of employment, (2) occupational sorting, and (3) earnings. Methods We use micro‐data from 2016 Life‐In‐Transition survey (LITS) which was jointly conducted by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank. We run several types of regression to show how height influences (1) likelihood of employment, (2) occupational sorting, and (3) earnings. Results When controlling for a comprehensive set of covariates, for each 10 cm increase in height, the probability of getting a job increases by 1% points for males and by 3 for females. Equally, for each 10 cm increase in height, the probability of getting a job increases by 2% points in urban areas and rural areas. Our findings demonstrate that taller women and men are more likely: (a) being an employer rather than an employee; (b) to be employed in higher‐paid and more prestigious sectors of finance, insurance, and real estate; (c) to be employed in private enterprises. Finally, when occupational sorting and socio‐demographics are controlled for, a 10 cm increase in height results in a 5% increase in earning for men, and a 12% increase in earnings for women. Conclusions Using a diverse sample of 27 post‐communist countries, we found that taller individuals have better labour market outcomes in terms of employment, occupational sorting, and earnings.
... Moreover, taller people are more likely to be confident and demonstrate leadership potential (Sohn, 2015). As a result, taller individuals are more likely to be employed as compared with relatively shorted individuals (Rosenberg, 2009). In addition, taller individuals are also more likely to work as entrepreneurs, managers, and leaders (Case & Paxson, 2008b;Case, Paxson, & Islam, 2009;Lindqvist, 2012). ...
Article
Objectives: To evaluate the effect of height on life satisfaction. Methods: We use data from a recent multi-country survey that was conducted in 27 nations. Results: Our main finding is that height does have a strong positive effect on life satisfaction. These findings remain positive and significant when we use a comprehensive set of well-known covariates of life-satisfaction at both the individual and country levels. These findings also remain robust to alternative statistical specifications. Conclusions: From a theoretical standpoint, our findings suggest that height is important in explaining life-satisfaction independent of other well-known determinants. From a methodological standpoint, the findings of this study highlight the need to explicitly control for the effect of heights in studies on subjective well-being, happiness, and life-satisfaction.
... A separate strain of research analyzes labor market discrimination for or against older age groups (e.g., Bendick-Jackson-Romero, 1996;Boglietti, 1974;Lallemand & Rycx, 2009;Dostie, 2006;Neumark, 2008). Besides gender, race, and age, there is numerous research based on other observable physical characteristics like people short in height, overweight people, people with disabilities, etc. (e.g., Hersch, 2008;Rosenberg, 2009). Kamasheva et al. (2013, p. 7) state that discrimination in the labor market, which is based on age, health, or sex, for example, can unfavorably affect the economic performance of a state; therefore, it is tremendously important to develop strategies on how to decrease inequalities. ...
Article
Full-text available
To intervene against discriminatory in the workplace is tremendously important because discriminatory practices have an enormous economic impact, along with a severe impact on psychological health, which can result in illnesses such as depression and burnout. Such intervention requires a multidimensional approach, including the whole organization and a systematic procedure. The aim of this paper is to offer suggestions on how to reduce discrimination in the workplace in Austria and Taiwan. To reach this aim, a qualitative study was conducted. It showed that education, active positioning of companies, leadership and diligent selection of employees, discussion and analysis, psychological support, governmental policies, and aspects of language and talking gender-wise are the most important steps to decrease or eliminate discrimination in the workplace.
... Within populations, height is positively associated with economic success in men (Magnusson, Rasmussen, & Gyllensten, 2006;Tyrrell et al., 2016) and in economically developed populations is inversely associated with health (Cutler, Lleras-Muney, & Vogl, 2011). Taller height may also improve both social esteem and selfesteem (Rosenberg, 2009). Lifetime exposure to air pollution is associated with poor health outcomes, including impaired lung development and pubertal development (D'Amato et al., 2015;Ozen & Darcan, 2011;Wolff et al., 2015). ...
Article
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Objectives: Within populations, height is positively associated with economic success and in economically developed populations inversely associated with health. Recent studies also suggest air pollution may result in higher bone turnover markers among children, which may affect growth. However, few studies have investigated the effect of air pollution on height or growth rate. We therefore assessed the associations of several air pollutants with height at different ages. Methods: We simultaneously assessed associations of particulate matter with a diameter of 10 micrometers or less (PM10 ), sulfur dioxide (SO2 ), nitric oxide (NO), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ) in utero, in infancy, and in childhood with height at different ages (∼9, ∼11, ∼13, and ∼15 years), in a population-representative birth cohort "Children of 1997" (n = 8327) from the developed non-Western setting of Hong Kong with relatively high air pollution and short children, using partial least square regression. Results: After considering multiple comparison, higher SO2 in childhood was associated with shorter height at ∼13 years (-0.20 cm, 99% CI -0.32 to -0.06). This difference was not evident at ∼15 years. Conclusions: These observations suggest that air pollution may affect the trajectory of growth and development rather than final height, with corresponding implications for health in later life.
... Today, social psychologists use the terms discrimination, prejudice, and stereotypes to refer to our behavioral, affective and cognitive biases respectively (Franzoi, 2006). Different researches have shown that minority individuals are highly stigmatized and face multiple forms of prejudice and discrimination due to their physical characteristics, e.g., height (Isaac, 2009), weight (Puhl & Heuer, 2009), and color (Rogers & Prentice-Dunn, 1981). ...
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In fact, one economist has suggested that " [t]he gross mistake is that much of what we normally assume is sex discrimination is height discrimination. Of course, heightism affects both men and women, but because women average 4 to 5 inches shorter than men, it affects [women] more
  • See Persico
See Persico, supra note 16, at 1020–21. In fact, one economist has suggested that " [t]he gross mistake is that much of what we normally assume is sex discrimination is height discrimination. Of course, heightism affects both men and women, but because women average 4 to 5 inches shorter than men, it affects [women] more. " Dennis D.
Among the other plaintiffs was Stephanie Chung, a 5'0 " woman of Korean descent. Id. at *4. 77 Sondel I
  • Dist
  • Lexis
Dist. LEXIS 21252, at *1. Among the other plaintiffs was Stephanie Chung, a 5'0 " woman of Korean descent. Id. at *4. 77 Sondel I, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21436, at *1–2. 78 Sondel II, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21252, at *6–7. 79 395 F. Supp. 378 (N.D. Cal. 1975).
The Current Use of Estrogens for Growth- Suppressant Therapy in Adolescent Girls, 15
  • Neal D Id
  • Barnard
120 Id. (citing Neal D. Barnard et al., The Current Use of Estrogens for Growth- Suppressant Therapy in Adolescent Girls, 15 J. PEDIATRIC & ADOLESCENT GYNECOLOGY 23, 23–26 (2002)). 121 490 U.S. 228 (1989).
  • Fredregill V
Fredregill v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 992 F. Supp. 1082, 1084 (S.D. Iowa 1997);
male whose body type does not conform to the traditional image of the ideal male, that of the tall mesomorph, may face severe difficulty in accepting himself and having others accept him as truly masculine and competent in the male role The Male Physique and Behavioral Experience Expectancies
115 Id. at 8. " [T]he male whose body type does not conform to the traditional image of the ideal male, that of the tall mesomorph, may face severe difficulty in accepting himself and having others accept him as truly masculine and competent in the male role. " Id. at 32 (quoting A. Gascaly & C.A. Borges, The Male Physique and Behavioral Experience Expectancies, 106 J. PSYCHOL. 97, 101 (1979)). 116 See MARTEL & BILLER, supra note 2, at 5 (citing G. Calden et al., Sex Differences in Body Concepts, 23 J. CONSULTING PSYCHOL. 378 (1959)).
243 MARTEL & BILLER 246 Id
  • W D Va
172, at 3 (stating that for dwarfism " any cutoff must be somewhat arbitrary " ). 243 MARTEL & BILLER, supra note 2, at 99. 244 HALL, supra note 5, at 303. 245 Civ. A. No. 05-12, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15219, *1 (W.D. Va. July 28, 2005). 246 Id. at *3–4. 247 Id. at *8. 248 Civ. A. No. 03-608, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24245, *1 (N.D. Ind. Oct. 19, 2005). 249 Id. at *8–9. 250 ADAAA, Pub. L. No. 110-325 § 4(a)(2), 122 Stat. 3553, 3555 (2008) (to be codified at 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(A)).
Mental Health Ass'n of Se
  • Walton V
Walton v. Mental Health Ass'n of Se. Pa, Civ. A. No. 96-5682, 1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18224, at *44 (E.D. Pa. Nov. 18, 1997); EEOC v. Texas Bus Lines, 923 F. Supp. 965, 971 (S.D. Tex.
In Sondel II, the Sondel I plaintiff joined forces with other rejected applicants to seek class certification, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, and national origin
  • Sept
Sept. 30, 1993) [hereinafter Sondel II]. 76 Sondel II, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21252, at *2. In Sondel II, the Sondel I plaintiff joined forces with other rejected applicants to seek class certification, alleging discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, and national origin. Sondel II, 1993 U.S.
B)); see also Alex B. Long, Introducing the New and Improved Americans with Disabilities Act: Assessing the ADA Amendments Act of
  • Id
251 Id. § 4(a)(1) (to be codified at 42 U.S.C. § 12102(5)(B)); see also Alex B. Long, Introducing the New and Improved Americans with Disabilities Act: Assessing the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, 103 N.W. U. L. REV. COLLOQUY 217, 222 (2008) (stating that the amendments clarify that " an impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability " ).