Does Body Art Lacks Employer Approval in the Workforce

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Does Body Art Lacks Employer Approval in the Workforce

Kenrick Hawthorne

American Intercontinental University

Mrs. Sharon Reid

Human Resource Management – MGT 303


Most employees today are covered by this body art called tattoos and piercings which conflicts with job presentation and perception. Employers today also has to deal with protecting both the company and there employees. Tattoos have its misconceptions and carries stereotypes for the bearer who's characterized as rough, tough, or less educated. Can employees conceal body art that impinges the work environment? How can employers be prepared to accommodate employees with body art? How can religion, cultural beliefs, or practices affect an employers' judgment? Many employers today are prepared and some are just ill-equipped to the employee manual. Leaving a question of concern, when is it ok to reveal tattoos and/or body piercings in the workplace?


Much of the information researched will answer the question, does body art lack employer approval? According to extensive research conducted, nearly all employers might not have a personal problem with body art, but, may be more concerned with customers' discernment and employees' perspicacity. "Regardless of who the person may be, stereotypes associated with piercings and tattoos can affect others' perception of people with body art (Society for Human Resource Management, 2007)". Having tattoos and body piercings might hurt those who are trying to find a job some say, but, that all depends on where the bearer seeks employment. A large amount of studies and surveys were carried out to determine how many employers have policies addressing formal and informal body piercings and tattoos. One study conducted by Vault Inc. surveyed 468 workers across the United States at a variety of industries. Studies showed that just under half, or 46 percent have permanent body art other than piercings. Another study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in May 2006 of 434 HR professionals established that more than 35.9 percent of the organizations have formal or informal policies concentrating on body piercings and 22.3 percent have a formal or informal policy addressing tattoos. Within many of these policies, organizations address various personal appearance requirements and while the majority of organizations might have such policy, many still doesn't address tattoos and body piercing in there policy, some doesn't know if there is a policy, and several organizations have a policy on tattoos and body piercings. "Policies addressing personal appearance tend to lean toward clothing style at 96.5 percent, footwear at 70 percent, and, to a lesser extent, facial hair at 28.7 percent, hairstyle at 21.7 percent, makeup at 10.7 percent, and aspects such as jewelry , perfume, nail length and color, and personal hygiene, SHRM found (Society for Human Resource Management, 2007)".

Employers have their plate full when it comes to employees getting their way. Many big and little organizations alike had to suffer because of untrained management who make indecisive mistakes that injures the company. Employees that are hired at a company who bears body piercing or tattoos feel that they are exempt from policy directives because they are under the radar. "Dress codes and other appearance requirements, including policies that forbid tattoos, body piercings and other forms of body modification, or mandate that they are covered in the workplace ("body art work rules") as a general rule, are not on their face discriminatory. However, like all general rules, there are exceptions (Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell, PC, 1999-2007)". Legal Challenges to "body art work rules" are on the rise. To date, these challenges have been in form of employment discrimination claims, on the basis of religion and gender. "Employers need to be on the look out for these claims and other...
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