Ugly trend: Hiring based on preferred look.

Never make hiring decisions based on the kind of employees you think customers might prefer. Courts take a dim view of rejecting qualified applicants based on who has the "right look." That quickly can devolve into a lawsuit based on age, race, gender, religion or disability.

Recent case: The EEOC sued a New York City restaurant, saying it refused to hire qualified applicants aged 40 and older for any public-facing positions such as servers, bartenders and hosts.

The EEOC says managers deemed applicants either "too old" or "not the demographic" they wanted based on their perception of what customers...

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