As I’ve said a few times in previous articles, I used to work for a high-end hotel as a Front Desk clerk. I no longer work there for a number of reasons- stress, low pay (minimum wage, anyone?), long days with no overtime (my boss was the Queen of the 10-day runner that worked out to where you worked 10 days in a row with all of the days being equally 40 hours a week), promises of a raise long forgotten, and the main reason I left? The General Manager is a total jerk.
We had a huge turnover at the hotel. Not surprisingly since experienced customer service personnel don’t want to work minimum wage, and won’t for long when they have to work in a high-stress environment ( the hotel biz is full of gripey, whiny, abusive guests) without being properly compensated for their efforts. As such, I was constantly training new employees, and the pickings were slim. We got stuck with high schoolers with no experience and no customer service skills whatsoever, not to mention a lack of pride in their work, so when a young lady applied for the Front Desk with a resume full of hotel experience, we were simply thrilled and interviewed her on the spot.
She was the perfect candidate for the job. She was friendly, eloquent, and didn’t even blink when she was told she was going to be making minimum wage with no benefits. She had experience in all hotel shifts, including night audit, which is by far the hardest position at the Front Desk in a hotel. My boss was practically doing cartwheels in her office, bubbling over with excitement at this potential new employee who would work any shift, was readily available, and had years of experience in the very field she was applying for. She was every hotel’s dream for a Front Desk clerk.
Enter big mean, General Manager. He’s the type of guy who holes up in his office all day and doesn’t know anybody’s name, even though we wear name tags. All the female employees are named “Girly girl” and all the male employees are “Hey, you.” He peeked into my boss’s office to check out the new prospect and walked away after about 30 seconds. He asked me what I thought of her and I expressed how friendly and knowledgeable she appeared and how I thought she would be super easy to train due to her previous hotel experience. He shrugged and lingered in the Sales office until my boss bid the potential new girl goodbye, then walked up to the desk to give his decision on the matter.
I was completely shocked when he told my boss that he actually thought the girl was smart and he liked her personality. When my boss eagerly asked him if she could hire her, he made a motion with his arms indicating heft and said, and I quote, “I’m not buying extra-large shirts for just one person, so I’m going to say no.”
Needless to say, my boss was devastated. We missed out on a perfectly suitable Front Desk clerk who would probably have out shined us all. I asked my boss if the girl was going to be hired, not wanting her to know I had overheard her conversation with the GM, and she sighed and said, and I quote again, “No. He says she’s too fat.”
This wouldn’t be the only time the General Manager had exhibited judgment on appearance. He told the girl we finally hired (who had the brain of a squirrel and was a total hair-pulling experience to train) that if she showed up for work looking dumpy on her first day she would be fired. The new girl said, and I quote yet again, “He told me so long as I come to work looking as pretty as I was on my interview I could keep my job.” What a freakin slimeball!
I quit two weeks later, and my boss told me that if I ever wanted to come back I’d only have to call, and she’d open a position for me. I told her no thanks, that I couldn’t work with the General Manager anymore. She didn’t blame me. I’m never going back to that place again.
So can you be rejected for a job if you’re fat? I’ve seen it happen. Of course, this is coming from a company with a General Manager who actually had a rule that female employees HAD to wear makeup (to which I firmly refused, much to the threats of being written up which never went through), and a total complete creep running an otherwise still pretty cruddy hotel. You can’t prove that that’s the reason you were overlooked unfortunately, but I’ve seen firsthand that appearance can be the difference between having a job and being completely shut put, even if you are the absolute perfect candidate for the position.