The stigma around body piercings and tattoo’s at work.

The stigma around body piercings and tattoo's at work.

Tattoos were a sign of being in a gang years ago, but today it is a part of our culture. However, that does not mean that employers welcome tattoos and body piercings as an addition to the dress code. Many companies do discriminate against people with body modifications, and it is entirely legal.

Employers, unfortunately, have the right to enforce a dress code that includes your appearance for their organization. If you have body piercings, they can request that you remove the jewelry while at work. You can’t remove a tattoo, but your employer can require that you cover them while you are working.

It is easy to judge, but…

It is easy to judge people by their appearance. However, the assumptions we make are rarely right. In today’s workplace, visible tattoos and piercings are considered unprofessional. Just because someone has piercings does not mean they are unqualified for a position and should only be judged based on abilities to perform the job. Unfortunately, employment for modified people is hard to obtain simply due to their appearance. I commend all of the companies that now allow their employees to express themselves. I understand that there are certain positions where it is unsafe to wear jewelry, and for those employers to request employees to remove their jewelry is entirely understandable. A teacher, for example, to be asked to remove their jewelry because it “sets a bad example for children or is distracting” is ridiculous.

How is a nose piercing going to affect their ability to teach? As a millennial were taught to express ourselves and be different. The problem is that until millennials are the owners and managers, there is still going to be a stereotype against the modified.

5 Tips if you struggle with this stigma

I am hopeful that soon, we will not have to hide our piercings in the workplace. Until then, here are a few tips to find and keep employment as a modified person.

  1. Apply at modified friendly employers such as coffee shops, salons, edgy clothing / retail stores, and there are always tattoo and piercing studios.
  2. You can hide your piercings for interviews where they do not or might not allow piercings.
  3. Wear clear retainer jewelry or flesh-colored jewelry for piercings that might close if removed. Any of your local piercers should have this jewelry available, or you can order them online. You do want to make sure your piercing is completely healed before you change out your jewelry and avoid plastic.
  4. If we want a new piercing and you know your work does not allow them I recommend getting the piercing when you have the longest time off. For example, if you work, Monday-Friday 9-5 get your piercing at 5:30 pm on Friday, so you have the most healing time before you have to try to hide your piercing. To conceal a fresh piercing, you can not remove, you can use a small bandaid. Most business are not going to ask you to remove a bandaid. Flesh-Colored bandaids are best. The best piercings to get if you know you will need to hide them is a septum piercing, nipple piercings, navel piercings, and genitalia piercings.
  5. If you have long hair, you may be able to wear your hair down to hide ear piercings.

Good luck on your quest for employment ?

Blog by Erica Bautista

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