People who are considered unattractive are more likely to be belittled
in the workplace, according to new research.
The study by Michigan State University found that unattractive workers were treated more harshly
than their attractive colleagues when it came to promotions and which tasks they were given to do.
And that being 'ugly' played more of a role in how someone is treated than their age, gender or how long they had worked there.
Previous research has found that attractive students tend to be more popular in school. However, this study, led by associate professor of management at the University Brent Scott, is the first to find a direct correlation
between attractiveness and bullying in the workplace.
'Frankly, it's an ugly finding,' said Scott.'Although we like to think we're professional and mature
in the workplace, it can be just like high school in many ways.'
The researchers surveyed 114 workers at a health care facility
in the southeastern United States. The workers were each asked how often their colleagues 'engaged in cruel
behaviour' towards them. This cruel behaviour included saying hurtful things, acting rudely and making fun of them.
A separate group of people, who didn't know any of study participants, were each shown photos of the workers and asked to judge how attractive each of them were.
Workers that were rated as unattractive were treated much more harshly than those the separate group classed as attractive. This included being given menial tasks or jobs other people didn't want to do and being overlooked
The researchers also collected information on how agreeable or friendly the workers were, based on questionnaires completed by their spouses, partners or good friends. The study found that disagreeable
workers, like unattractive employees, were treated more harshly than their co-workers.