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Body art discriminantion in the workplace
January 25, 2013 at 10:01 AM
"Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . Title VII prohibits discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, and national original. Title VII applies to all private employers, state and local governments, and education
institutions that employ 15 or more individuals. Rehabilitation Act of 1973. This law essentially applies the standards of Title VII to the federal government as an
employer. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The Fair Pay Act changes when the statute of limitations begins for workers’ claims of
pay discrimination under Title VII and the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act (ADEA) to declare that an unlawful
employment practice occurs not only when a discriminatory
pay decision or practice is adopted but also when the
employee becomes subject to the decision or practice, as well as each additional application of that decision or
practice. In other words, each time compensation is paid. Equal Pay Act. The EPA prohibits sex-based pay discrimination between men and women who perform under
similar working conditions. The EPA applies to all employers
covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The PDA, which is part of Title VII, prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The FMLA prohibits discrimination against pregnant women and
parents as well as employees with serious health conditions.
In 2008, two new types of FMLA leave were created which
gives job-protected leave for family of members of the armed services. Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The ADEA prohibits discrimination against employees age 40
and older. The ADEA covers private employers with 20 or
more employees, state and local governments (including
school districts), employment agencies, and labor
organizations. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA). The ADA and ADAAA prohibit discrimination against a qualified employees or job
applicants with a disability because of the disability,
association with someone with a disability, or because the
employer sees an employee as disabled, even if he actually
isn’t. The ADA and ADAAA applies to the same list of
employers as Title VII. Nineteenth Century Civil Rights Act. This Act, amended in 1993, ensure all persons equal rights under the
law and outline the damages available under the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, Title VII, the ADA, and the 1973 Rehabilitation
Act. Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA).The federal Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) prohibits employers, employment
agencies, and labor unions from discriminating against employees based on genetic information. It also prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums based on genetic
information or from using genetic information in underwriting
decisions. In addition to federal laws, many states also have laws similar to the ones above prohibiting discrimination and some include even more protected categories than the
federal laws cover. State-by-state comparision of 50 laws in all 50 states including discrimination laws Sexual orientation discrimination On June 24, 2009, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act ( ENDA) of 2009 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. ENDA is a proposed federal law that would
prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Sexual orientation discrimination currently is not explicitly
prohibited under federal law. Certain states have enacted
discrimination laws that apply to homosexual, bisexual, and
transsexual individuals. In some states, sexual orientation
discrimination is prohibited only in certain municipalities.
There have also been attempts to provide discrimination protections through court cases interpreting existing sex
discrimination laws."


*****All of these things are protected in regards to employment, however in 2013 body art discrimination is still alive and well, and socially acceptable. The reasoning is often because of the fear of "offending" a patron, yet other possibly offensive things are protected (as they should be IMO) such as national origin, religion including religious garments, gender identity, etc.
I understand employers may not want someone with, say, large ear gauges, or many tattoos, however there are employees who also don't want blacks or forigners, those of other religions, women, or open homosexuals, and those people still get the protection they deserve.

Why is this still acceptable in our culture? Do you agree or disagree with it? No bashing, let's all be big girls :)


  • momtoscott
    January 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM

     Unfortunately my experience with swimming instructors has been that the hunkier they are, the baggier the swimtrunks...the speedo-wearers are the ones who should ... just ... never ...

    Quoting lizzielouaf:


    What about a swimming instructor in a speedo? Oy vey the conundrum 



    Quoting momtoscott:

     I think it's reasonable for an employer to have some kind of dress code to help customers as well as employees focus on the job. 

    I tend to find tattoos visually distracting, along with Speedos and fascinators, and I would prefer to focus on what my lawyer is saying to me or what the violinist is playing, so I appreciate some covering up.  However, the clerk at CVS, the person frying my burger?  Tattoo and pierce away, it's not going to affect my experience. 

    The policy should fit with the workplace. 




  • Bek22
    by Bek22
    January 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    I have tattoos and have never had a problem with being asked to cover them up.

  • lilbit53009
    January 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    this is getting and eventually will be phased out. as all the old people retire and the newer generation is running the businesses

  • Sekirei
    by Sekirei
    January 25, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I have tattoos.. it was a choice. I do not expect to be protected because of a choice. If they want to fire me or not hire me because of the visible tattoos I have, oh well, no big. I will go elsewhere.

  • Sekirei
    by Sekirei
    January 25, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    She is a lawyer... :3 Still practicing too (not in the US though)

    Quoting katy_kay08:

    Does this person give you the warm fuzzy "I'd leave my kids with her" feeling?  

  • mikesmom65270
    January 25, 2013 at 2:54 PM


    I totally agree.  Body art is elective; gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. are not.  I don't think body art discrimination even comes close to those other issues.  My DS got a tatoo in high school, my only comment was to make sure it was located where it would be out of sight if he wanted to conceal it.  He is now sales manager at an autodealship, eventually headed to be general manager, and I have no doubt that visible body art would have kept him from those positions.  Judging?  Yes, but in certain settings judging is part of the overall assessment for determining fitness for employment.  Live with it.

    Quoting Woodbabe:

    I think its because body art is something you electively choose to do to yourself to express who you are to the world.

    You can say its not fair to judge you, but the harsh reality is that yes, you are judged. You are judged everyday on how to choose to present yourself to the world.


  • NewMom11222011
    January 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    During the early 90's I worked at a bank that suddenly made a policy about employees needing to cover their tattoos.  My friend had a Taz tattoo, but on her ankle so it was immaterial.  Being the rebels without a clue that we were, we put on copious temporary tattoos for the employee picnic just to see the straightlaced president's reaction to them.  He was especially surprised at me since I was in the church choir and led children's ministries.  The look on his face was priceless.

    I'm much to needle- and pain-phobic to get the real thing!  Our society judges based on "looks" in a million ways and whether we would fit in with a corporate environment.

    One thing I could never figure out was why a customer felt ok giving us a deposit on casual Friday when we dressed down but would not feel comfortable giving us a deposit all the other days of the work week if we weren't dressed to the nines.

  • motha2daDuchess
    January 25, 2013 at 3:13 PM
    this argument pushed you into ridiculous, you need help if you see wanting to sleeve your arms and gender reassignment as the same thing. I have 9 tats, none are visible.

    Quoting LAHnTAH0812:

    there's a customer who comes into my work frequently who's face is striped like a tiger's. i'd say he probably would say he felt he was born as a tiger incarnate or something.

    i really don't see the difference. we are all supposed to be tolerable of each other.

    Quoting mustloveanimals:

    It is like a dress code, it is all about creating a professional atmosphere. Sorry but tatttoos on your face definitely doesn't scream "professional."

    And no, someone who "chooses" to represent a different gender would say they are NOT making a choice but just dressing the part that they felt they were really born as. One cannot make the same argument for body art.

  • GLWerth
    by GLWerth
    January 25, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    We all have to deal with dress codes and such. Having multiple tattoos is a choice, it is also a choice where you get those markings (face, arm, butt, wherever).

    Honestly, I don't understand why people get tattoos on their faces or other places that can't be covered, but that's me, it's not my thing in any case.

    Overall, if it isn't obscene or offensive, it would seem not to be a problem. However, different people view obscenity or offensiveness in a myriad of different ways and some people like to push the boundaries, so rules end up being made.

    My DH has had jobs where he couldn't wear his earring, where he couldn't have a beard, had to wear a tie, couldn't wear his wedding ring....there are plenty of dress codes and we all have to live with them.

  • Mommy_of_Riley
    January 25, 2013 at 6:22 PM
    This pretty much sums it up...

    And I have tattoos and piercings.

    Quoting Woodbabe:

    I think its because body art is something you electively choose to do to yourself to express who you are to the world.

    You can say its not fair to judge you, but the harsh reality is that yes, you are judged. You are judged everyday on how to choose to present yourself to the world.

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