High Time for a Change: Body Modification in the Workplace

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Sarah Dolezal

Yonika Willis



High Time for a Change: Body Modification in the Workplace

According to the Pew Research Center in January 2007, 36% of people ages 18-25 have at least one tattoo and over 15% have at least one body piercing, as indicated in a 2006 Northwestern University survey (Ukatu-Anderson , 2011). The numbers here indicate that over one third of the population seeking employment will have some kind of body modification. Tattoos, for many people, are moving from expression to cultural and/or religious form of expression. If that’s the case, it might not be long before we see workplace rights or laws preventing discrimination against those with tattoos (Khalfani-Cox, 2011). Businesses will soon have to face the fact that professionalism and body modification can coexist. Businesses will have to rethink hiring people who fit the out dated image standards, or hiring people who are truly qualified for the position despite the colors in their skin, the gauges of their piercings, the decorative scarring, hair colors, various implants (from breast augmentation to decorative implants), and so on. Body Modifications should not be a reasonable excuse for discrimination in the workplace.

In today's global marketplace, employers are taking more seriously the need to provide a work environment that welcomes employees from many different backgrounds. The competition to attract and retain skilled workers has resulted in corporate cultures that strive to demonstrate the value placed on individual and group contributions. There has also been increased attention towards offering a company culture, and benefit packages that support a variety of lifestyles (Gross, n.d.). “The face of the young American worker is changing, and it's increasingly decorated with ink and metal. About half of people in their 20s have either a tattoo or a body piercing other than traditional earrings, according to a study published in June in the...
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