Workplace Culture

Tattoos in the Workplace Drawing Big Online Response

By Rita Pyrillis

Oct. 26, 2010

The growing popularity of tattoos and piercings has made the issue of body art in the workplace a hot topic on the Internet. Several websites, blogs and social networks cater to inked and pierced professionals. Here are a few:

• Tattoo Acceptence (sic) in the Workplace—A Facebook group with nearly 710,000 members. Its goal “is to take away the stigma attached to people who have tattoos in the workplace.” Members post queries on which companies have the most restrictive policies, share experiences about being turned down for jobs, and vent about unsupportive bosses and colleagues. Most posts echo the sentiment of one member who writes: “I’m not going to change who I am for a job. I want a job that fits me, not the other way around.”

•—The Alliance of Tattooed or Pierced Professionals helps the inked and pierced find jobs at “compassionate companies that support this freedom of individuality.” Co-founder Justin Johnson, 24, was inspired to create the site after working as a Web designer for a conservative company that asked him to remove his piercings and cover up his tattoos. The group lists companies that are body art friendly, including Home Depot Inc., Target Corp., Trader Joe’s Co., Verizon Wireless and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

•—Marcus Cota, a 31-year-old body piercer in Madison, Wisconsin, hopes to establish a database of companies that are accommodating to pierced professionals on his recently launched website. He is conducting a survey of workplace experiences among participants, asking questions about the number and types of piercings they have and how their careers have been affected.

•—New York City lawyer and tattoo enthusiast Marisa Kakoulas has been blogging about tattoos and legal and workplace issues since 2005, but started her website just last year. She offers advice to employees, tattoo artists and others who have legal questions about body art. Regarding job discrimination, she writes: “Even if you claim your tattoos are protected for reasons such as religion or national origin, that doesn’t mean you can wear a swastika on your neck and serve customers with abandon.” She is currently working on a book titled Tattoo Law.

Workforce Management Online, October 2010Register Now!

Rita Pyrillis is a writer based in the Chicago area.

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