- Hired the best qualified applicant.
- Acted to prevent illegal discrimination.
- Elicited strong loyalty from their team.
- Had not lost any court cases.
- Trained staff members who were then promoted.
- Wore conservative suits.
- Wore flashy suits.
- Were too efficient.
- Used PowerPoint.
- Didn't use PowerPoint.
- Sent staff members to professional conferences.
- Had an accent.
- Were "too punctual."
- Were humorous.
- Said "y'all."
- Had "too much" job experience.
- Fended off political interference.
- Were kind.
- Were eloquent.
- Were courteous.
- Liked rodeo.
- Liked country and western music.
- Liked classical music.
- Were veterans.
- Had long hair.
If these appear to be irrational biases - and let me assure you that given the context they were irrational - that is beside the point. Critics don't require rationality; they just require a target.
One of my favorite training memories is of an evaluation from a workshop I conducted. A participant wrote that the class was substantive and well-presented and "people seemed to like it" but she didn't care for my tie. [The tie in question was a very conservative red one.] There was not a trace of humor in the rest of the evaluation so I assume she was serious.
I think of Bill Cosby every time I recall that tie.