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By Stacia Wagner
Monday, November 14, 2011


In Ariel Kaminer’s The Ethicist column in the New York Times (November 6, 2011), there was a discussion about hiring a young woman with a nose ring. Was it correct to not hire the person because of assumptions other may make regarding her piercing? The columnist stated “When it comes to looks, everyone is biased. We may not all define attractiveness in quite the same way, but we all have an emotional reaction to it-in professional and social matters alike. We’re built that way.” And goes on to say, “If you’re hiring for a modeling job, hey, discriminate away. Looks are the name of the game. If you’re hiring for an I.T. job, they’re not. They should play no role in your decision.”

However there is not a federal law which prohibits discrimination based on physical appearance. For many childhood brain tumor survivors, this discrimination begins in school and continues into their career. Changes in appearance such as facial paralysis, permanent loss of hair or uncontrollable weight gain are just some of the physical challenges a brain tumor survivor may face. Research has indicated a change in teachers and peers perception of a brain tumor survivor's abilities following the completion of treatment. Survivors talk frequently about the fact that their resume shows they are qualified for the job, but when they are interviewed they feel people make assessments based upon you appearance.

At CBTF, we are working to develop a career/employment program to help survivors share their strengths during interviews and to assist employers in understanding the impact of a brain tumor. By increasing awareness and providing education ,we hope to begin to eliminate some of the discrimination many brain tumor survivors feel. Do you have a story you would like to share?

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