Can you deny woman a job because she's "puny?"

The want ad called for an experienced mechanic. Ella Smythe felt she was qualified and applied. Screened through to Maintenance, she was next interviewed by Foreman Harry Sylvester who hastily skimmed through her employment application.


The want ad called for an experienced mechanic. Ella Smythe felt she was qualified and applied.

Screened through to Maintenance, she was next interviewed by Foreman Harry Sylvester who hastily skimmed through her employment application.

"How much do you weigh?" he asked.

Ella grinned. "About 100 lb."

Sylvester returned the smile. "You appear to have the needed skills and experience, but this job isn't for you. It will require heavy lifting. You would have to pick up machines and instruments weighing 40 lb or more."

"No problem," Ella replied.

"You gotta be kidding. This is a man's job. You're too puny to handle it. With your weight and build, you don't have the muscle power that's needed."

Ella disagreed. "Lifting heavy stuff takes a lot more than muscles. If you give me a chance, I'll prove it to you."

"Sorry, I can't take the risk. Our compensation claims are too high already."

"That's not fair," Ella charged. "This is a clear case of discrimination and I'm not sitting still for it."

Question: Can the foreman reject the applicant because he judges her too "puny" for the job?

Milton's verdict: "Give her a chance to prove herself," Plant Engineer Don Milton instructed Sylvester. "She's absolutely right that lifting heavy objects depends as much or more on technique as it does on a person's weight, muscle power, or sex. If she can lift a 40-lb unit without apparent physical strain or discomfort, I would give her a crack at the job."

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