"My Body Is Not My Resume"
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Tattoos and Piercings in the Workplace
This is designed to help college and high school students as well as journalists with research topics on tattoos and piercings in society. Below are detailed helpful insights to assist in writing essays on tattoos and piercings, or research papers on tattoos and piercings in the workplace. Email us if you need additional assistance with speeches on tattoos and piercings in the workplace or video projects.
Should government stop discrimination?
The only way government can stop tattoo and piercing discrimination is to legislate regulations forcing companies to hire tattooed or pierced staff. Forcing businesses to do this focuses the hiring process back on applicants' bodies instead of their merit. Tattooed and pierced people don't necessarily make phenomenal staff. The goal shouldn't be getting people with tattoos & piercings hired, it should be getting the most qualified person hired.
The reason tattoo and piercing discrimination is illogical is it bases employment on the applicant's body. It's based on factors that are irrelevant to the applicant's ability to do the job. Therefore, for the government to force employers to hire a percentage of tattooed or pierced staff would be equally illogical. The most qualified employee with the best experience, education, work ethic, character, and skills will always be the best choice for the business. Legislative regulation would infringe on the freedoms and rights of the business owner and not be in anyone’s best interest. Should government stop discrimination legislatively, it would cause employers to be forced to hire based on factors other than qualifications. This would build an inferior workforce, which in turn would enforce negative stereotypes of tattooed and pierced employees. If employees are hired based on their body, for any reason, it creates an unqualified workforce with little incentive for career growth and personal growth.
Business vs. Employee Rights
It's important when correcting unfairness or tattoo discrimination to not do so at the expense of others' rights.
CONSUMERS - Right to choose where to spend money
EMPLOYEES - Right to choose where to seek employment
EMPLOYERS - Right to choose who to hire and fire
The vast majority of business owners with restrictive hiring policies do so because of misinformation. Education is the answer, not laws. Forced change is temporary, but a heart change is permanent. Society should be changed through positivity and conscious shopping habits. Don't shop where you wouldn't be hired. It's important to remember discrimination never benefits the business.
Should businesses have the right to discriminate against customers and staff?
Yes, when exercised wisely it can benefit the business, but when used incorrectly it can result in negative effects. For example, some stores won't let shoppers with a record of shoplifting in their store. This policy makes sense. It potentially decreases theft, which helps keep low prices, thus benefiting consumers. Some stores have "no shoes, no shirt, no service" policies. It's their right to discriminate; however, discriminatory policies can annoy patrons causing them to bring business elsewhere. A bakery might refuse to cater for a Klan meeting, Planned Parenthood ceremony, radical mosque event, gay wedding or a Westboro Baptist celebration. Should they be forced to cater? No business, whether we agree or not with their actions, should be forced to provide a service or hire someone. In a free market society, businesses retain control of their business operating choices, and consumers retain control of their shopping choices. We choose where we make purchases. In the case of tattoo discrimination, stores have the right to refuse service or employment, and consumers have the right to shop or apply elsewhere.
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Is discrimination wrong?
Discrimination is not always wrong. The employment process by definition is discrimination, and all of us discriminate on a daily basis. Discrimination is synonymous with choices and necessary in making wise choices. Humans make choices daily. On a minor level, each meal you eat is a choice or discrimination against another meal. If you eat carrots instead of cake you chose health over taste. At a significant level, you choose to be friends with certain people, and choose not to be friends with others. Why? Whatever your reason, you're discriminating. If your discrimination is based on eliminating negative influences in your life, the discrimination could be healthy.
When an employer hires anyone, they've discriminated against all other applicants by saying one person is a quantifiably better candidate than the rest. It's okay to judge or discriminate by saying someone isn't a good friend, employee or customer, but you judge them based on their actions, not their looks. When a company chooses not to hire someone because they don't have the necessary qualifications, that is discrimination, and it's good. When a company discriminates candidates based on tattoos it is negative discrimination because it's based on superficial reasons that have no bearing on the individual's ability to do the job.
In short, everyone discriminates, but discrimination should be based on actions, not looks.
Negative Effects of Discrimination
Discrimination that disregards merit and is based solely on appearance never benefits the business. Businesses that ban paying customers with tattoos in a store to increase revenue will by default stunt their net revenue. Human resource departments that shrink their hiring pool based on superficial reasons, instead of skill, experience, education and character will minimize their business' potential. If a company doesn't hire qualified staff, their competition will.
Here's a workplace situation:
Candidate #1 Candidate #2
Most Qualified Least Qualified
If a business chose candidate #2 it would result in a quantifiably worse candidate working for the business. If they chose to hire candidate #2 exclusively because of race it would create a consumer backlash. Everyone agrees it's a poor business decision, yet when you replace "race" with "tattooed vs non-tattooed" it's a poor decision multiple companies make. Over 50% percent of US adults have tattoos or piercings other than ear piercings. Does discrimination against over 50% of the population make business sense? The obvious answer is no, but multiple companies do it.
A common objection is, "tattoos and piercings aren't commonplace," yet over 50% of the population has one. Unwarranted discrimination causes a loss of market share and revenue.
Another common objection is, "tattoos and piercings will deter a significant amount of the population." However, a FOX News poll found 96% of American adults wouldn't change current shopping habits if a business had staff with tattoos or piercings, provided they received the same pricing and quality of service.
For additional substantive answers to common objections click below.
Where did tattoo stereotypes come from?
Stereotypes and generalizations have negative connotations in Western culture. They're normally surmised as inaccurate assumptions of the world. However, there's an old saying, "generalizations are generally true." In our world travels, we've found multiple cultures have the same matching stereotypes of other cultures. Many stereotypes are duplicated across cultures that don't share the same language, culture, borders, or even continents. If the stereotype is inaccurate, how did multiple cultures come up with the same identical inaccurate stereotype about another culture? The answer could possibly be cultures change, but the old stereotypes don't. When we applied this concept to people with tattoos and piercings, here's what we found. Almost 2/3rds of tattooed seniors are male, yet almost 2/3rds of tattooed people who are college age are female. The percentage of tattooed college age females and males is 36%, while only 5% of seniors 65+ have tattoos. Over 7x the amount of college students have tattoos, compared to their senior counterparts, yet the gender percentage gap completely reversed. The people getting tattoos have completely changed. When polled, almost 92% of seniors 65+ said the primary reason they got tattooed was rebellion. When
polled, only 4% of college students listed rebellion as their primary reason for getting tattooed. The reason people get tattooed has changed. Old stereotypes in Western culture that tattoos were synonymous with sailors, criminals, prostitutes, and rebels might have been true decades ago. However, this generalization applied in a changed culture is no longer accurate.
How to Defeat Stereotypes
You can force someone to change their actions, but you can't force them to change their perceptions. Kindness, not laws, change peoples' perceptions. If you have tattoos or piercings, whether you make a conscious effort to or not, you represent people with tattoos and piercings every day by your actions. Do not be a good worker, be the best worker. Demand respect by your actions, not your words. Click here for additional things to do.
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