Can my employer require me to post a photograph of myself on the staff directory?

Can my employer require me to post a photograph on the staff directory, available to all? I am hesitant for several reasons, one of which is the ability for internal hiring managers to base initial decision on appearance. There is an internal climate of ageism within our company and I strongly believe this may hinder my ability to be hired for another position internally.

Rita Risser replies:

Age discrimination is illegal, but of course it does occur. However, employees have very few rights to privacy in the workplace. In this situation, the employer has a legitimate business reason to post pictures, as it enables employees to network with each other more effectively, helps new employees get to know their co-workers, and so on. Some employers allow employees to provide their own pictures (rather than the mug shots taken by HR on the first day of work). If your employer were to allow you to provide your own picture, good lighting, some makeup (including for men) and a little PhotoShop® might go a long way to helping you put your best face forward.

Posted 01-12-2016

Information here is correct at the time it is posted. Case decisions cited here may be reversed. Please do not rely on this information without consulting an attorney first.


About the Author:

Rita M. Risser Chai is the founder of Fair Measures. An attorney in California for 20 years and now an attorney in Hawaii, she authored the Prentice Hall book, Stay Out of Court! The Manager’s Guide to Preventing Employee Lawsuits. She developed most of the curriculum used by Fair Measures, created the firm’s first website praised in HR Magazine, and wrote numerous articles on employment law including one on best practice harassment prevention training published in the magazine of the American Society for Training and Development (now ATD). She taught Law and Human Resources at the University of California, Santa Cruz, for eight years, and has presented four times at the annual conventions of the Hawaii Society of Human Resource Management.