Are Tattoos Appropriate In The Workplace?

A tattoo is a form of body modification that is made by insertion of indelible ink right to the dermis of the skin so as to change the pigment. It is in most cases considered as a part of a story that is awaiting to be told. Tattoos can be skin deep but mostly their significance goes deeper than this.

The message that this body art sends can in most cases be expressed by individuals themselves.  These can sometime tell us something about the wearer. For example, a person with a tattoo of a barbed wire can express a stint in prison. A red rose tattoo reflects romance(Miller, 1997). Reading a person’s tattoos can in most cases be like interpreting a person’s dream.

There are several types of tattoos. The black and grey tattoo means tattoos that are done by use of gray and black shading. It doesn’t include application of color and is suited to the darker skin tone. The color tattoos are another type of tattoo. They are full of color pieces normally lined with black and are also shaded(Miller, 1997). These colors are normally dermatological tested. These are some among many other types and styles of tattoos.

Tattoos in the past were considered as part of a counterculture. For many years, tattoos have been associated with bikers, gangs and other groups that are considered to be out of the social center. Tattoos have now gained a social acceptance and more people both the male and the female have them. These days, people with tattoos can be found to be working in a variety of industries and hold the entry-level jobs and the top executive jobs as well.

So what does an employer have to do? Is body art an issue at the workplace? If a person has a tattoo does it have any impact in their job? This is a question that most employers ask themselves several times. In the today’s global market, employers are now taking seriously the need to provide their workers with the work environment that is inviting to employers form different back grounds. This competition to retain and attract the qualified and the skilled workers has in this case resulted in corporate cultures that works on demonstrating the value that is placed on the group and the individual contributions(Elzweig, & Peeples, 2011). Companies are striving to incorporate a culture that supports a variety of lifestyles.

In most organizations, the employer’s reaction will depend on where and what the tattoo is(Miller, McGlashan Nicols, & Eure, 2009). Some of the employers may have an issue with this while some are okay with it. The law supports the employer’s dress code as well as the appearance policies. The employers also retain some flexibility in creating the rules that will ensure that their employers are able to portray the image of the employee.

Most of the employers do not allow visible tattoos in their company policies. This is mostly dependant on the type of job as well as the employer’s industry(Miller et al2009). For example, an employer at a four star hotel may not allow their waiters/waitresses to have a visible tattoo of crossbones and skulls. This may be allowed for the chef at the kitchen because of minimal interaction with the clients. From a business perspective, the hotel’s issue is to put down a policy that shows appropriate differentiation between the job and the visible tattoos. This is meant to show whether it may or it may not be appropriate.

Another example which might get a little complicated is this. A bank has a bank manager who has minimal interactions with clients. If at all there is any interaction, it is normally strictly internal. So will it be okay for this bank manager to walk in one day with a tattoo of a star under his eye? The answer to this is that, in part, it is all dependant on the culture of the company as well as their attitude towards tattoos. It also depends on the difficulty that one has in retaining and recruiting good bank managers. This might mean that as much as the bank is not okay with its employees having a facial tattoo, they may also not risk losing a competitive bank manager just because he has a facial tattoo. The bank might however have more concerned with a teller who has regular interaction with the customers.

According to this, it is thus evident that tattoos are nowadays acceptable in the workplaces but are dependent on the company policies, the competencies of an employee as well as the employee’s interaction with the customers(Elzweig, & Peeples, 2011). The laws also apply in this. There is some extent of the law that cannot be violated.


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