Study: Unattractive workers more likely to be bullied

MICHIGAN (WITI) -- A study, led by a Michigan State University business scholar suggests people who are considered unattractive are more likely to be bullied in the workplace.

Brent Scott -- an associate professor of management was the lead investigator on the study.

“Frankly, it’s an ugly finding,” Scott said. “Although we like to think we’re professional and mature in the workplace, it can be just like high school in many ways.”

Scott and his team surveyed 114 workers at a health care facility in the southeastern United States. The workers were asked how often their co-workers engaged in cruel behavior toward them (which included saying hurtful things, acting rudely and making fun of them).

People who didn’t know the study participants judged their attractiveness from digital photos.

The study found unattractive workers were treated much more harshly than attractive employees even when other key factors were taken into account, including age, gender and how long they had worked at the facility.

“Our findings revealed that both personality and appearance matter,” Scott said.

The results of this study appear in the research journal Human Performance.

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