By Nerino Petro at 22 January, 2010, 11:44 am
In today's challenging legal employment climate, potential employees (whether lawyers or staff), need to carefully think about every thing that can potentially affect their job prospects. This includes body piercings and tattoos which seem to be the current craze. Like diamonds, tattoos are forever without expensive and painful removal. But can tattoos and piercings actually affect your job chances? It appears that there is now information to support this belief.
In many aspects, law firms are conservative when it comes to appearances and that tattoo that seemed like such a good idea on Spring Break could be keeping you from getting a job. While many attorneys and staff may sport a tattoo or other body art, it is usually not visible and is kept covered. However, more and more, you've probably seen folks that are using their bodies as a canvass to express themselves with tattoos and piercings visible on all exposed skin. While acceptable in many industries, such displays may lead to potential employment issues especially if that industry is law.
According to Vault.com survey, 85% of survey respondents believe that tattoos and body piercing impede ones chances of finding a job.
You may believe that any company that looks at the existence of body art in the hiring process is wrong, but the cold hard facts are that there are many folks who find it unattractive and stereotype based on it. While employees have many rights, having the right to openly display tattoos or piercings isn't one of them as the post so clearly points out.
Having served in the military for a number of years, it was not uncommon to see tattoos on arms and chests, but today's body art goes far beyond those areas. In fact, many branches of the US Military have enacted regulations that prohibit body art that is visible below a rolled cuff on the battledress or short sleeved duty uniforms as the prevalence of tattoos surged on entire arms and hands. This 2008 post – Employment Decisions based on tattoos are not discriminatory – from the Ohio Employer's Law Blog addresses the issue of body art and hiring for law firms directly, but also points out that any standard for appearance must be equally enforced .
For this attorney, the biggest issue with body art is that over time it fades and is subject to the aging of the human body as things stretch, drop and shrink. You need to carefully think before you act and ask yourself, is this act of personal expression more important to me than landing a good job?