Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Does Inc. allow ink?

Last spring, I participated in a college to career conference that provided college students the chance to ask a panel of employers questions about the job world and any advice we wanted to give them regarding the job search as a whole. One of the most frequently asked questions was around the topic of tattoos in the workplace. Are they acceptable? Can they be visible? What’s considered too big?

The reason I believe this question has become a hot topic, is due to the overlap of parents/teachers and millennials coming from two completely different social views on tattoos. In today’s workplace, many contemporary companies are stressing commitments to diversity and inclusion, so tattoos are becoming increasingly unproblematic across the board.  Lax tattoo policies for blue-collar and art-related jobs aren’t shocking, but the increasingly tolerant outlook of frontrunners in corporate, educational and medical industries are more surprising.

For instance, according to Bank of America Spokeswoman Ferris Morrison, Bank of America has no written rules or restrictions when it comes to inked corporate employees.  “We have no formal policy about tattoos because we value our differences and recognize that diversity and inclusion are good for our business and make our company stronger,” she said.

Yet, that is not true for every company.  Tattoo policies vary from one office to another, the contra argument being that tattoos – like unconventional hairdos or bold garments – can distract coworkers and clients.  “Depending on if they are visible or offensive in nature, tattoos can have an impact on professionalism,” said Mark Brenner, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at Apollo Group.

The employer panel came to the conclusion that if the tattoo can be covered during business hours, it is typically not a problem. On the other hand, we did suggest to the students that it is best to make sure and ask about it during the interview process or read the employer handbook that should state dress code or tattoo polices. This is important to understand before you “ink a deal” with a company.

For questions about ink, contact ashley.gonzales@mattressfirm.com
* http://www.forbes.com/sites/rachelhennessey/2013/02/27/having-a-tattoo-and-a-job/

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