Some employers encourage piercings, tattoos and rainbow hair colors, believing that an employee’s self-expression is good for morale and good for business.
Others prohibit visible tattoos, piercings outside of the ear and Day-Glo hair colors, insisting that such employee self-expression will drive off customers.
Regardless of where you fall, tattoos, piercings and bright pink hair are growing in popularity, with a 2012 Harris Poll showing that 21 percent of all American adults have at least one tattoo (7 percent of all adults polled had piercings somewhere other than their ears). And here in the West, 26 percent of all adults polled reported having at least one tattoo.
Finally, no matter how employers deal with these issues, applicable policies should be clearly stated in writing and readily available to all employees.
Like it or not, traditional dress code and appearance standards are changing. While employers still retain wide latitude to determine dress codes at work, practical, social and legal factors are requiring more careful consideration of requests that may have been readily dismissed in the past.
This article appeared in the Denver Business Journal on March 29, 2013.