Taboo Tattoos? Does An Employer Have the Right To Regulate My Body?

by Cookie


So, Bitches.  How many of you out there have tattoos? Piercings?  Shaved your head or dyed it a crazy color?

It’s funny.  20 years ago, I think this bodily ornamentation was seen as a bit taboo.  It was isolated to stereotypical groups of people: bikers, thugs, freaks, hippies, punks.

Now, it seems to not only be socially acceptable, but increasingly the new normal.

There is some sort of petition going to Ottawa right now to implore the Federal Government to make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee because of a tattoo or piercing.

I’m not actually sure of the specifics, but I would hope that it will include preventing companies from creating policies that restrict an employee from acquiring or showing tattoos or piercings while working.  I hope it prevents employers from making ridiculous rules about attire or uniforms and even restricting what you can do once you are no longer on company time.

For example, forcing an employee to either remove a piercing while they are working, or even stupider, making them put a band aid over top of a visible one. Or deciding that anything more than 2 earrings per ear will offend the customers.

I call bullshit.  As a paying customer, I don’t get offended by some one else’s choices.  If they serve me well, they could look like the lizardman with a split tongue and the whole fucking nine yards, and I wouldn’t give two shits.  If anything, it would make the experience more memorable, and I would be more likely to return.

As a paying customer, if I had a server with a giant bandaid on their face, I would wonder:

1.  Does this chick let her boyfriend beat the shit out of her?

2. Is this the return of “Nelly”?

3. What kind of fucking establishment has so little respect for their employees that they would force them to do something that looks so idiotic?

It may not be the type of establishment I would want to support with my business.

I understand that businesses want to convey a certain look of professionalism.  I understand that they have the right to issue uniforms and grooming standards in order to run their business as they see fit.

But what if they all of a sudden decide that their uniform standards include blonde hair and blue eyes?  What if they decide that customers don’t want to be served by fat people? What if they decide that they don’t actually like to hire Jewish people?

Those things are protected by discrimination laws already in place of course, but my thought is this:

It’s an asshole move.  And not only is it an asshole move, but it’s an opportunity for employers to use the excuse of a “no piercing or visible tattoo” policy to in fact discriminate against a certain group of people.  Because they are so common place now,  an employer who is racist against black people could fire someone for violating the uniform standard while really just using it as an excuse to get rid of someone based on something else.

At the end of the day, I think it’s a slippery slope.  The current legislation says in not so many words:  “Their house, their rules.”  That applies to being able to dictate whether or not an employee is even allowed to change their clothes after a shift before leaving the establishment.

I understand rules are in place for a reason, and an employer has to be reasonably able to run their business as they see fit, but I’m not whether my decision to ornament or not ornament my body is going to impact their business.

For the record,   I currently have zero tattoos and zero piercings.

Over to you, Bitches.