Tattoo Discrimination: Legal, But does it Cost Employers Talent?

Tattoo Discrimination: Legal, But does it Cost Employers Talent?Dress codes and appearance policies are nothing new to the workplace. While there is no legal obligation to adopt such policies, most employers wish to promote a certain aesthetic among their employees. However, in doing so, some have argued that discriminating against tattoos and other forms of body art are only hindering the employer. In order to reduce discrimination claims, ensure your clients are equipped with an Employment Practices Liability Program.

While some employers want employees to be able to express themselves freely, others are hesitant to allow such creativity. Therefore, an adequate policy should address all aspects of employee dress and appearance and explain that the employer’s professional atmosphere is maintained, in part, by the image it presents to the public and its guests, according to Law 360.

Further, some might believe those with tattoos are less intelligent and creative than others. The Rocky Mountain Collegian states that Psychology and Behavioral Science experts Anette Cebula and Erich Kasten conducted a quantitative study that examined the creativity and intelligence levels of both tattooed and non-tattooed students. The study concluded that non-tattooed students were slightly more creative and the IQ levels of the tattooed students exceeded those without them. Therefore, the argument that believes there is a correlation between tattoos and lack of intelligence is disproved.

It is important to not disqualify candidates and employees based on physical appearance as this may lead to discrimination lawsuits and a hindrance for your business’ talent. While tattoos and body piercings are becoming more acceptable in the workplace, a concise and direct appearance policy can help to ensure both parties can operate professionally while also maintaining uniqueness.

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