Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace

You are waiting on your next interview when a candidate with more body piercings than the bad guy from the movie Hellraiser walks through the door. What do you do?Generation Next employees have taken a strong interest in tattoos and body piercings much the same way baby boomers fell in love with long hair and VW vans.While employers in previous decades had candidates with afros or with hair down to their waist, employers today face those with “tats” and “nose rings.”Large employers have established clear policies pertaining to the display of body art and piercings.Starbucks has a policy that limits employees to ear piercings only and then to only two small earrings on each ear whether the employee is male or female. At Disney Theme Parks, no piercings are allowed on any employee unless it is part of their “character.”TV shows like LA Ink are glamorizing tattoos and you may see candidates who are covered with “art” from head to toe. Their body tapestry, as it is often called, is sometimes more important to the candidate than paying the bills.Employers are allowed to create a policy regarding the display of piercings and tattoos while at work. Is it yes to two ear piercings but no to lip or nose piercings? Yes to forearm tattoos and eyebrow piercings, but no to neck tattoos? It is up to you to decide what your policy should look like.Where physical labor is required, employers such as repair shops and manufacturers should have a policy that limits all body jewelry to minimize the possibility of workplace injury.Other employers may find the display of body jewelry and tattoos by employees to be draw to their clientele, but even these businesses should have limits in place to avoid employees overdoing it.So when your next interview candidate looks as though he came to you straight from the set of LA Ink, notify him prior to the close of the interview that the company has a policy regarding body art and piercings. Be prepared to discuss this policy with the candidate, as he is likely to ask for details as to what is or is not allowed.Regardless of your enterprise, it is clear that tattoos and piercings are here to stay and business owners need to be prepared to deal with them.(C) 2010 Jerry Ballard, Perfect People Solutions