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Suppose I run a Japanese restaurant business, and I would like to hire a live-kitchen chef who would be making food in front of the customers. Of course I would like to get a chef who is very skilled and knows how to make the best sushi in the city.

However, to increase the visual and cultural feel of the restaurant I would like the chef to have a (...it might sound funny but just for example):

  • Japanese accent
  • Japanese facial traits
  • Serious face
  • etc

Would it be discrimination not to hire a person just because he doesn't look the way you want your chef to look?

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Well clearly it is discrimination. The question is whether it is illegal discrimination. In general, hiring on the basis of appearance is legal in England and Wales (think actors, shop assistants, receptionists). It is also legal (although possibly foolish) just because the boss prefers to be surrounded by good looking people.

However, in your particular example, you would be indirectly discriminating on the base of race - and race is a protected characteristic.

Note that you can discriminate on the basis of skill in Japanese cuisine, because that is directly relevant to the job.

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