Are People with Tattoos and Piercings Being Discriminated Against in the Workplace?

Are People with Tattoos and Piercings Being Discriminated Against in the Workplace?
Jailyn Montoya
Opinion Editor

There is no law written against having tattoos as a worker or discrimination against them. However, in November of 2006, the court case of Robert V. Ward, found that employers can impose dress and appearance policies; this includes regulating tattoo displays, which provided the policies are handled in an equitable fashion. The results of this court case made it so that employers can enforce a dress code on their employees, including the cover of tattoos or removal of piercings while clocked in. 

With this law in effect, business owners and managers have free range to deny a person of work, if they do not meet their company’s dress code. However, denying a person a job because they have tattoos and piercings is discrimination. Companies are allowed to decide if they want their employee’s tattoos to be covered up or not, which is easily done with long sleeves and pants. However, if a company has a uniform that the employees are required to wear, the company would deny work to a person with tattoos that would be exposed. Even if a person is fully qualified for the job, they could be denied work, due to the way they look, and that is discrimination. 

Some companies that don’t allow their employees to have visible tattoos or piercings, varying from Bath and Body Works to Geico Insurance. Few companies allow tattoos that are non-offensive, but won’t allow facial piercings, such as Home Depot and PetSmart. Other companies, however, have even stricter rules where, as an employee, you are not allowed to have an unnatural hair color. An example of this is Chick-fil-a. Companies like these should not be allowed to deny a person the job due to what their body looks like. It is a person’s choice to put tattoos on their own body, color their hair, and get piercings, without having the fear of not getting hired for a job. 

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