85% of those surveyed said that “tattoos and body piercings impede a person’s chances of finding a job,” according to a survey by Vault, a company that publishes career information.
The survey found that 64 percent of respondents said tattoos and body piercings have a negative effect on the opinions of co-workers and employers. Thirty-four percent said that such body art has no effect on co-workers’ or employers’ opinions.
“Regardless of who the real person may be, stereotypes associated with piercings and tattoos can and do affect others,” one respondent said. “In general, individuals with tattoos and body piercings are often viewed as ‘rougher’ or ‘less educated.’”
The survey, which included of 468 employees, found that 49 percent of respondents said their company had no policy on tattoos and body piercings. Another 35 percent said they were unsure whether their company had such a policy. Only 2 percent of respondents said they have been fired or disciplined because of their body art.
Nonetheless, most employees with tattoos said they conceal them when at work. About 40 percent of respondents said they had at least one tattoo. About 20 percent of respondents said they had at least one piercing beyond the ears.
In a recent article about tattoos on HR.BLR.com, BLR legal editor Lynda Rizzo said employers’ policies should be clear and applied consistently. She said employers should also be aware that they may have to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee who has a tattoo or piercing for religious reasons.
“Employers can have dress codes based upon objective criteria such as safety or professional image,” Rizzo said. “At the same time, employers should also be willing to accommodate employees who have tattoos due to legitimate religious beliefs. The courts are conflicted on this issue, so the best thing to do is to consider each case and contact a lawyer if you have any questions.”
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