Tattoos and Body Piercings in the Work Place

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Tattoos and Body piercings in the Work Place
Michelle Chambers
Com 220
November 18, 2010
Denise Langdon

While there is a huge amount of popularity in body art and piercings today, are there more companies accepting them in the work place today? It seems as though the hiring practices in most companies today look past the body art and more towards the actual qualifications of an individual as compared to before, where tattoos and body piercings were unacceptable in the work place. Although there are various opinions on the subject, tattoos and/or body piercings have seemingly been a subject as to whether or not to be allowed in the work place. Several factors have come into play in this particular subject. They include work place policy, preference, religion, and profession; just to name a few. Everyone has their own reasons for getting a tattoo, or tattoos. Whether your reason is because of religion, sentimental reasons, rebelling, or anything in between, having those tattoos and being in the work place plays a huge part in whether or not to allow these tattoos in said work place. Work place policy involving tattoos and body piercings range anywhere from simply not being allowed, taking out a particular piercing, to that of the act of being able to cover visible tattoos. Should either one not be allowed period in the work place, are there possible violations in our Constitutional Rights for Freedom of Expression? The same can be said for those policies that may state that visible tattoos must be covered or that the piercing has to be taken out. As a matter of preference, one would have to question whether or not it was of a legality issue. If a company had no such policy and just simply stated that tattoos and/or body piercings were not allowed in the workplace, would it be justifiable in relieving someone of their job without the repercussions of possibly being sued? There have been cases that have actually gone to court with the outcome being favorable to the employee. When it comes to Religion, the earliest known mummified remains of a human that was pierced is over 5,000 years old (Wilkerson, 2004). This article also states that a ring through the head of a penis could be used to tie the organ back to the testicles with a length of leather. In Gladiatorial combat, this prevented serious injury. Egyptian body piercings were known to show status as well as the love of beauty. Earrings were worn to show their wealth and to accent their beauty. An article from the University of Phoenix Library tells of some history of tattooing, showing that the word tattoo dates back to 1769, a Tahitian word which means “to mark” when Captain James Cook came across tattooed South Sea Islanders, (Bickerstiff, L., 2005). These Islanders were usually tattooed between the ages of ten years of age to twelve years of age and were done on various parts of the body. This could be another example of history and possibly being a partaking in a religious ceremony or, perhaps something even deeper. Professions can come in to play as well because there are individuals who would probably frown on a doctor who has a visible tattoo or body piercing than that which is accepted by society, (i.e. pierced ears). Parents may question the authority of a teacher if that teacher has something out of the normal parameters on the same basis as previously stated, but does it really affect his or her ability to teach?

This picture is a perfect example of perhaps the acceptance of tattoos in the workplace. Notice that we have a gentleman in a suit shaking the hand of another with a tattoo that is clearly visible. This is possibly the handshake of welcoming a new employee or either one coming in for an interview. In any case, it’s a simple picture with a simple statement in that tattoos are more accepted in the workplace in today’s world.

So does being in a professional field mean that tattoos interfere in the...
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