Controversial Essay on Having Tattoo's in the Workplace

Published: 2023-03-14
Controversial Essay on Having Tattoo's in the Workplace
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Other
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1796 words
15 min read

Corporate organizations often set the dress code for their employees. This entails an elaborate description of what is considered professional dressing and what is not. There has been a contentious debate about whether body piercings and tattoos should be incorporated into dress code by companies. Of course, the employment law in the united kingdom, Australia and the united states of America allow the employers to decide on the question of tattoos. The corporates have the discretion to set the dress code, which requires employees to cover their tattoos or piercings when at work ("Discrimination Against Tattoos in the Workplace" Para 5). These dress codes that require employees to cover their tattoos or remove them are imposed regardless of the reasons they have for inscribing such impressions on their body. Conceivably, this amounts to some sense of discrimination in cases where an individual has them for religious purposes. It is also commonplace that a hiring manager discriminates prospective employees just because they have tattoos on their body ("How Millennials Are Forcing Attitudes About Tattoos In The Workplace To Evolve Marine Agency" Para 8). The proponents of anti-tattoos policies at work cite that such images can be offensive and show unprofessionalism. The focus of anti-tattoo factions is on ensuring that the clients are not apprehensive when dealing with staff and that the reputation of the company is not tainted. There are presumptions that a client is highly likely to have a negative perceptive or some form of aversion when dealing with an employee having tattoos. Due to the dress code limitations, most employees have resorted to getting their tattoos done on hidden parts of their body such as upper torso, thigh or cover them. These trends then necessitate the discussion that workplace policies that prohibit tattoos not only undermine their ability to acquire the best pool of talents into their human resource but also undermine the freedom of expression which is a critical component of employee's welfare.

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Hiring managers who use physical impressions such as piercings and tattoos on the candidates' body to inform their recruitment decisions are likely to fall int the trap of employing a pool of incompetent people. Pew Research Centre survey established that 76% of respondents conceived that tattoos and piercings impeded their chances of getting hired while 4% reported actual discrimination related to their tattoo in the workplace ("Should Tattoos Be Allowed In The Workplace - Professional Appearances"). The culture of having physical impressions on the body is growing among millennials meaning that at any time an employer is recruiting, a large proportion of candidates who are otherwise very intelligent and competence have such inscriptions on their body. Imperatively, blatant discrimination of applicants for just having tattoos on their body is a counterproductive measure for the organizations. Such regulations cast aspersions on the interests of the corporate entities. Ideally, any corporate organizations' primary focus is to acquire and retain a team of highly competent people that can fast track the achievements of its goals. Also, the prohibitory workplace policies against tattoos may drastically lower the morale of the employees who desire to have such impressions on their bod thus reducing their productivity ("Should Tattoos Be Allowed In The Workplace - Professional Appearances"). The sheer fact that the number of people who are in favour of tattoos has significantly increased necessitates the reversal of policies that prohibit it and that individuals overcome their propensity of using such images as a premise of judging employees as professionals or not. In overcoming this barrier to self-expression, the employers will be creating a win-win situation between the corporate and their employees which is a significant milestone in fostering a conducive work environment.

Workplace policies that prohibit tattoos among the employees are inconsistent with the anti-discrimination laws. Laws such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972 requires that nobody should be discriminated due to their religious affiliation, gender, race or any form of social identity. From a legal perspective, workplace laws, codes and regulations are considered inferior to the constitutional practices and international best practices (Allred 477). In light of this, it is arguable that even the courts that allow the employers to institute anti-tattoo regulations in the workplace are complacent and contemptuous of the spirt of employment regulations (Allred 478). The employers indeed have the discretion to control the reputation of their organizations and manage workers, but this should not seem to institutionalize discrimination. Having a workplace policy that indiscriminately prohibits tattoos risks being discriminatory in cases where workers use such impressions for religious purposes.

Arguably, policies that prevent people from having tattoos assume that all of them are blatantly socially unacceptable. Nonetheless, the truth is that some of the images are subtle and may even excite clients. For instance, a worker who has a beautiful butterfly inscribed on the forearm may impress the client due to the beauty of such insects. The employers should focus on defining which tattoos are acceptable instead of generalizing that employees should have any form of the images invisible parts of their body "How Millennials Are Forcing Attitudes About Tattoos In The Workplace To Evolve - Marine Agency" Para 5). Subtle tattoos may capture the sublimity of emotions and connect the client to the employer, thus improving the perceived quality of service.

Workplace policies that prevent tattoos obscure the underlying reasons for their growing use among the workers. Ideally, tattoos are merely meaningful ways of self-expression. Just like any form of art, tattoos are the ways through which the bearers make sense of their identity and demystify their lived experiences. Tattoos should not be considered as evidence of unprofessionalism but instead should be used as a way of looking deep into the subconscious part of the bearers. It can be a way of understanding an employee's personality, attributes and demeanour. Such information about the employee is vital in addressing their unique characters and harnessing towards attaining efficiency at work. Discomforting as some tattoos maybe, they communicate the bearers take about various aspects of life. An employee may have a flower tattoo to showcase a state of internal calm while another may have an image of a downcast meme that expresses their emotional instability.

Prohibiting tattoos in the workplace amounts to the speculation of the engendered perspective that they belong to low-class people. Historically, symbols were used by the marginalized and people of low social class to communicate their struggles "How Millennials Are Forcing Attitudes About Tattoos In The Workplace To Evolve - Marine Agency" Para 1). It was a non-verbal cue for expressing emotions, status and internal struggles among the low class. In the Harlem Renaissance tattoos were used by the socially disenfranchised communities to communicate, that is not the case in the current generation. In modern society, tattoos are worn by people from different racial backgrounds which implies their b acceptance as a unifying social culture. Therefore, accepting tattoos among employees will create a socially diverse workplace environment without unnecessary prejudice. Any company that strives to foster tolerance to diversity as a means of improving integration as well as better corporate outcomes, it is essential to allow staff members to wear tattoos without any fear of reprisal or intimidation.

Ideally, the managers' discretion to decide an employee's dress code should not presume that tattoos will be provocative for employees. The question of having tattoos on the body is not the same as that of dressing code since it attracts the need for the subjective concept of obscenity and location. For instance, hiring managers can define what constitutes obscenity. Still, the exercise of such discretions must comprehensively look at the reasons behind the tattoo bearer's decision to have such images in one part of the body as opposed to the other. It is essential to understand the understanding of the reasons why someone chooses to have tattoos as a precondition for providing their general welfare.

The fact that tattoo culture has increased and gained increasing acceptance is a clear demonstration that they should not be associated with outlandish counterculture among the younger audience. Furthermore, workplace policymakers must assume that every tattoo worn by the workers is a statement of their inner identity and way of communicating the things that they may not immediately speak about (Allred 476). It is prejudicial to assume that someone may be offended by tattoos; hence, the workplace dress code should not seem to victimize employees based on sheer assumptions. Factually, there are various tattoos which are beautiful artistic impressions such as bats, butterfly, flower, or fish which are of sentimental value to their owners.

Anti-tattoo advocates may argue that such impressions are often offensive, undermine the sense of professionalism, risks the corporate reputation and has adverse health implications ("Tattoos In The Workplace: Which Industries Are The Most Ink-Friendly?" Para, 6). Opposing viewpoints about tattoos present that liberalizing such skin impressions would open up the workplace for employees to have offensive images on their bodies. For instance, it would be discomforting to customers if an employee working in a hotel environment has large visible tattoos of skulls and crossbones on the hands ("Discrimination Against Tattoos in the Workplace" Para 7). This negative portrayal may taint the corporate image and undermine its competitiveness. Again, the process of making tattoos increases the risk of developing health complications. Tattoos are body art that is caused by inserting ink into the dermis using a needle which results in a change of the skin's pigmentation. While in most cases, the bearers of tattoos use them for self-expression, medical studies show that they induce allergies, predisposes bearers to skin infections and development of blood-borne diseases. The long term effects of these ink insertions on the skin are unknown, which then increases the potential risks.

In conclusion, corporate entities should regulate the behaviour of workers such as dressing and ways of expression which fall within the context of organizational culture. However, they must do so within the right of employees to freely express themselves and be free from any forms of discrimination whatsoever ("Discrimination Against Tattoos in the Workplace" Para 4). Intuitively, bearers of tattoos use them as a way of expressing their deep-seated emotions which they cannot speak verbally. Therefore, institutionalizing policies that victimize employees without due consideration of their motivations for inscribing such images on their body amounts to discrimination. Instead, proactive corporate management should use tattoos to understand the personal message that they communicate as a way of learning their employees' perspectives about life. While it is undeniable that some tattoos can be gory and unsettling, an explicit prohibition of all forms of such impressions undermine the essence of subtle ones. From a human resource perspective, a free work environment that tolerates diversity results in highly productive employees. Instead of altogether banning tattoos, the employers must work on policies that regulate which type of tattoos fit the specific designation for a person.

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