Can an employer require an applicant to submit a photograph ( 2 1/2 head and shoulder shot)? along with their application
Wow! What a question.
Can an employer require an applicant to submit a photograph? Yes, they can. It’s common in media jobs like actor or newscaster. They’ll often ask for a headshot in applications as those people need to be photogenic.
Other than that, should they? In my opinion, no. (And that’s why this question rattled me.)
The reason is, the employer is setting themselves up for a lawsuit. Let’s say that I am a well-qualified candidate with a medical condition that leaves me bald, or it’s clear in my photo that I’m in a protected class based on age, ethnicity or religion. If they choose NOT to hire me, it would be easy for me to claim discrimination. They’d be in a tough spot to defend themselves. Therefore, I would advise against employers requesting a headshot from applicants. (It’s common after hire, to ask for a headshot to put on the org chart — I see no problem with that.)
If you’re asking this as a job seeker, I would follow up to see why they want a headshot. Maybe there’s a valid reason. Asking is not illegal. However, using a person’s appearance as a criterion for hiring (or not) is very very risky for an employer.
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