Tattoos and Piercings in the Work Place

Tattoos and piercings are two of the many ways that people like to express their individuality. If you walk down the street you are most likely to see someone with a tattoo, some form of body piercing, or both. People spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on designs and jewelry to show what they are passionate about. However, with the growing number of people that have these modifications, it is harder for them to get a job or even get past the interview stage in certain companies.

tattoos in work place
“Employers will sometimes bypass a great candidate for their company solely because they have “abnormal” piercings or visible tattoos.” Photo from:

Employers will sometimes bypass a great candidate for their company solely because they have “abnormal” piercings or visible tattoos. In a way, this violates the First Amendment, which we all know is the freedom of speech. Tattoos are a way for someone to express their beliefs, thoughts, and feelings, so some think that they should be protected under the First Amendment. Title VII and even the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are also somewhat violated because they prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion and national origin. Paganism is a religion that believes in piercings and tattoos, so employers would be “technically” breaking a law for discriminating against someone with tattoos (1).

Now, this goes to say that some companies have lightened up on their policies regarding tattoos. There are some companies, including Wal-Mart, Sea World, and Walt Disney World, that have policies against visible tattoos (1). Most policies just ask them to be covered up, which most people do not mind doing. However, piercings such as gauges are even more largely discriminated against, more than regular piercings (1). This is because they are facial piercings that can be seen with a uniform on, thus breaking a certain code for the company.

Employers should not have a say as to what a person does to his/her own body. Because the First Amendment is very much a big deal in American society, why can’t tattoos and piercings be made a direct example of freedom of speech?

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