Tattoo artist Cody Biggs inks a design on a client’s arm at Taboo Tattoo in Dallas’ Bishop Arts District. AUSTIN — When it comes to the prevalence of tattoos among younger people, the ink is spreading.
But when they go to apply for jobs, they may find it’s still a stain, researchers say.
Two professors at Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi recently looked at trends in corporate workplaces and the legal climate for nixing or hiring applicants based on their ink and piercings.
“There’s still a stigma” in the corporate world over visible tattoos and unconventional piercings, said Brian Elzweig, an associate professor of business law at A&M-Corpus Christi and co-author of a paper published last week on the topic. “But the difference now is that employers have to weigh that against what percentage of the applicant pool they would be immediately giving up.”
The report looks at how strict employers should be in their policies about tattoos and piercings other than conventional earrings.
A Harris Poll from 2008 showed that people between 25 and 49 were getting tattooed at a much higher rate than previous generations. Nearly a third of people ages 25 to 29 and a fourth of those 30 to 39 had tattoos, compared with just 9 percent of people 65 and older, according to the report.
“You have to be really careful; you are going to lose a good sector if you have a no-tattoo policy,” Elzweig said.
But companies have a lot of leeway in using appearance to decide whom they hire, he added.
“The general rule is you’re allowed to discriminate,” he said in an interview.Exceptions to the rule exist and could become more prominent. Newer court cases seem to require companies to show actual hardship in their cases. For example, the report said, “some courts are now requiring data to support blanket claims that customers would not like to be served by employees with tattoos or piercings.”The report refers to a case in which […]