The idea of hiring and promoting on the basis of looks is an ethical issue that impacts a variety of people. Primary stakeholders, who were previously identified as the groups of people whose rights were directly exercised and denied (whether perceived or actual) and were morally harmed and/or benefited directly, include candidates and current employees and employers and businesses. Secondary stakeholders, or the groups of people who are indirectly impacted include families of the employed and those seeking employment, the government, and consumers and society in general. Each group of these stakeholders also is impacted morally and has rights that are affected because of lookism. The remainder of this paper will focus on whether or not the act of hiring or promoting on the basis of looks, especially in jobs where looks are considered to be important to the job, is ethical by testing it against a comprehensive ethical framework. First, lookism will be looked at through an economic lens, using Friedman’s economic theory. Next, a decision will be made based on the legal requirements related to lookism. Lastly, this issue will be tested using two ethical duty systems, the first being distributive justice and the second being utilitarianism. The final decision will be then be made after looking at the decisions of the four individual parts as a whole.
Milton Friedman’s economic theory is a model that can be used to test whether or not hiring on the basis of looks is ethical. This theory rests on the idea that the reason that a company exists is to sell its products, make money, and seek as much profit as it possibly can. He argues that a corporation can’t have social responsibility for various reasons. For one, in a free enterprise system, people are employees to the owners of the business that they work. This establishes a principal/agent relationship, in which employees are the agents and the owners are principals. Employees are directly responsible to their owners and are to conduct business in accordance to the desire of the owners. This desire, in most instances, is to seek profit within the boundaries of the law and without deception or fraud. Individuals can't allow their social causes and use realm of influence to champion social responsibilities. This would result in diverting time and energy away from the primary goal of business, which is to make as much profit for the owners as possible. Under this theory it is only okay to strive toward goodwill if it results in more profit.
Friedman’s theory is superior to other models because it places high significance on the main reason for the existence of business: to make a profit. It recognizes this major principle and also identifies the importance of doing so while remaining within the law and avoiding deception or fraud. When a company selects who to hire or promote, they generally choose based on the fact that they believe the individual they select...