Plugs, Tattoos and Piercing In The Workplace

Tattoos, Piercing, Plugs, nose rings, tongue studs, you name it the day of the decorated human being is here now and most likely here to stay for a while. It is a growing trend at 13% a year and becoming socially acceptable. At one time it was considered a rebellious, individualist, and tribal expression of a person. No longer, it is becoming the norm.

Eye Bogglers:

  • A 2010 study by Pew Research in 2010 found that almost 40% of millennials have tattoos
  • 1 out of every 5 adults — 21% — has at least one tattoo. (2012 Harris Poll)
  • 13% increase in tattoos since 2007.
  • $1,650,500,000 Spent on Tattoos in the USA (Statistic Brain)
  • $150 Average Cost of a Large Tattoo
  • 20,000 + Tattoo Parlours in the USA

The problem is that with the increase of tattoos especially among the millennials, companies find that if they have tattoo restrictions it can limit their choice of qualified workers. Even so, millennials do not seem to care. In another survey, the University of Tampa did a study in which 86% of the students surveyed thought those with visible tattoos will have a hard time finding a job.

We all know that Tattoos no matter what we think about them, do not make the person. You may be horrified by massive plugs in the ears and cheeks. You may be shocked by the person with a body covered in ink. You may be appalled at the tongue piercings. Whatever the reason that those people choose how to decorate their body is their personal choice. Your personal choice is whether you want to do business with them, i.e. hire them.

Whatever you decide for your office to allow body adornments such as Plugs, Piercing, and Paintings, the #1 Thing is to put your piercing and tattoo policy in the Employee Manual. You need to be very specific. ie. no visible tattoos on the hands, no piercing other than ears, and one eyebrow. No tongue, no nose rings in the office. Consider that this is similar to a uniform policy. It is your policy and you have to own it. No visible Tattoos, they must be covered. No piercings.. and list where.

In your evaluations consider other factors that might prove to be an asset and overcome some of the body decor:

  1. Is that employee clean and neat?
  2. Will that employee add value to the business?
  3. Will they contribute to the success of your business?
  4. Does that employee have a good attitude?
  5. Is that employee trainable?
  6. Is the employee customer-centric?
  7. Does the employee have the right qualifications for the job?
  8. Will tattoos, piercings, and plugs interfere with the job?
  9. Can Tattoos, and piercings actually endear them to the customer?

Bottom line.. with the growth in tattoos and other body art, re-look at your employee manual and see if it needs updating. Don’t lose sight that Tats and Plugs do not make the optician,




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